Weekly Briefing – May 3 – 10, 2014

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Saturday, May 10th, 2014 @ 10:10PM

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U.S. National Security’s Achilles Heel – The Electromagnetic Spectrum – – Rachel Ehrenfeld – On December 23, 2013, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency issued a solicitation “to … conduct satellite system performance modeling, satellite system response-to-environments modeling, high altitude weapons electromagnetic pulse effects modeling, and disturbed atmosphere effects modeling…”  Yet, on January 21, 2014 …the Department of Defense stated: “The Department is unaware of any increase in the threat of a deliberate destructive use of an EMP device. Further, any reporting to the contrary by those without access to current threat assessments is both reckless and irresponsible….” Rep. Trent Franks ((R-AZ Chair of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection….held a hearing on May 8, 2014 about Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) threats to U.S. infrastructure, focusing on threats to the electrical grid.…more…

Washington’s Cyber Worries — Rachel Ehrenfeld – Washington’s political gridlock is behind Congress’ three failed attempts to pass legislation to increase the nation’s cybersecurity. The executive branch’s frequent lip service disguises either a lack of understanding that an attack on U.S. cyberspace is plausible, or a persisting unwillingness to consider the devastating effects that such attacks would have on our national security, economy and society.  This attitude is rooted in a reactive mentality that prevails among our government officials, public leaders and even business executives. Consider, for example, a recent war game that was simulated by the Truman National Security Project in Washington, DC. The focus there was not on how best to protect the country’s critical infrastructure, but on how fast would public opinion turn critical of the government in the aftermath of a national crisis.…more

Al Qaeda and the U.S. Intelligence — Brian Michael Jenkins – On April 30, 2014, the State Department issued its latest Country Reports on Terrorism. Dealing with 2013, it confirms what we have known for some time: that the numbers of terrorists and acts of terrorism are rapidly increasing and that, in one way or another, these numbers and events are by and large about the activities of al Qaeda and its affiliates. In 2013, terrorist attacks worldwide rose 43 percent over 2012.  Terrorists killed some 17,891 and wounded another 32,577.  Nearly 3,000 people were kidnapped or taken hostage in 2013. Al-Qaeda affiliate ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) doubled the number of people it killed in 2013 as opposed to 2012.  The State Department provides statistics on the “efficiency of attacks.”  ISIS’s efficiency increased to 4.30 deaths per attack from 3.58. Why this statistic?  Good question.…more

From Osama to Obama: The Decline of the Pax Americana — Norman A. Bailey – “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will take you there.” — Chinese Proverb… It all began in September of 2001. When on January 1, 2000, the United States entered the twenty-first century, it was not only the richest and most powerful country in the world, it was the richest and most powerful country in the history of the world.  It was, indeed, the hyperpower.  When George W. Bush was inaugurated president in January of 2001, he inherited from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton an unparalleled military machine and a budget in surplus for the first time in decades. And then, only nine months later, the hyperpower began a long, agonizing decline, beginning with Bush’s response to the attack; the invasions and disastrous occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq which cost trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives. The financial bleeding was compounded by domestic spending excesses, such as the Medicare drug benefit.…more

Benghazi: Deja Vu All Over Again – Hiding the Threat of Islamic TerrorismPeter Huessy – A video sharply critical of Islam and Mohammed, “Innocence of Muslims”, was first posted to the Internet in July 2012. Two months later, still a week prior to the anniversary of the attacks in America on 9-11, there had still been little reaction within the Islamic world. But on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001… armed militants stormed a “diplomatic outpost” in Benghazi, setting the building on fire [killing] Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty… The US administration was quick to blame the July video for the rioting in such places as Cairo, Istanbul and Rome that preceded the attacks in Libya, as US facilities and embassies were set on fire and attacked across Northern Africa and in the Middle East… still described by senior members of the administration as a spontaneous demonstration that got out of hand implying that as such they could not have been anticipated and thus prevented. Now nearly two years later, the video release continues to be blamed for the riots of September 8-11, 2012 that occurred in Yemen, Egypt, and in Istanbul and Rome, although the attacks in Benghazi are now determined to have been a planned terrorist assault. But this narrative is wrong headed.…more

Why “Benghazi”? — Sol W. Sanders – Washington is notoriously a one-crisis town. And it may well be that the growing concern over Russian aggression in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s threats to other former Soviet-occupied areas in Central and Eastern Europe will soak up all the controversy oxygen in the U.S. capital. But there is increasing evidence that the events of 9/11, 2012, in eastern Libya were extremely significant although any effort to elucidate them studiously has been ignored by the mainstream media. They may, indeed, be an important marker in the longer term development of U.S. politics and American foreign policy and therefore of world peace and stability.…more

News and Commentary:

New federal rule requires banks to fight DDoS attacks – Network World

Twelve sources of global cyber attack maps – Sandro Suffert

Venture capitalists hearing the cybersecurity gospel from NPPD

GAO Report – Department of Homeland Security: Progress Made; Significant Work Remains in Addressing High-Risk Areas

Was Snowden’s Heist a Foreign Espionage Operation?  – Edward Jay Epstein: Those who know the files he stole think he was working for a foreign power, perhaps Russia, where he now lives..

Putin’s Hollowed-Out Homeland: Russia’s human capital is in steep decline. A 15-year-old boy there won’t even live as long as one in Afghanistan – Nicholas Eberstadt

Putin’s ‘Human Rights Council’ Accidentally Posts Real Crimean Election Results – Forbes

Nigeria’s nightmare a ‘teaching moment’ on Islamist threat – Benny Avni

Realism in the Middle East: The Arab-Israeli conflict defies solution – Emanuele Ottolenghi: It is time the West recognised that the differences are irreconcilable — and the sooner the better…

But Is It Good for the Druze? George Clooney and his future in-laws – Lee Smith

A Failure of Policy: Al Qaeda runs amok – Thomas Joscelyn

Trouble at the Top: Chinese officialdom is in turmoil – Abe Shulsky, Gary Schmitt

California School Asks 8th Graders To Debate Whether the Holocaust Happened – Deborah E. Lipstadt: The assignment materials cited Holocaust deniers, and represent a gross failure of judgment—and historical awareness 

Capitol Hill News:

Hearing: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP): Threat to Critical Infrastructure. Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. May 8, 2014 

Since 2001, the American Center for Democracy has exposed and monitored threats to our right to speak freely and our political and economic freedoms. The ACD does more than identify individual, isolated threats; it also analyzes their synergistic effects on the economic security of the nation. The ACD’s projects and publications focus on early warning systems that alert the public and policy makers to prevent and mitigate threats.

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Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, Al Qaeda, Cyber, Economic warfare, EMP, Free Speech, Iran, Islam, Latest News, Russia and East Europe, Syria, U.S. Foreign Policy, U.S. Policy