A THREAT (ALMOST) WITHOUT PRECEDENT

An English translation by Bernard Bouvet of my post Une menace sans précédent (ou presque).

You will recall what Dick Cheney, the former U.S. Vice President, said at the time, it was 2001, about Saddam Hussein? No, not that, I mean before there was any question of “weapons of mass destruction.” Cheney’s affirmation was that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al-Qaeda, implying that even if Saddam himself didn’t happen to be a terrorist, it was still very much all the same. Although various official reports over the years disproved any contact between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda, a 2005 poll revealed that 63% of Americans were still convinced that such links existed.

Let’s fast forward about nine years, to last week, in Washington D.C., at the White House. In the course of meetings held there, according to The Wall Street Journal, dated yesterday Feb. 21st, an assessment was provided by Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) (*), the agency tasked primarily with keeping an ear on all which is being voiced around the world, on Internet, in phone conversations, or otherwise.

As reported by the Journal: “Possible scenarios discussed, the former official said, included one in which a foreign government developed the attack capability and outsourced it to a group like Anonymous, or if a U.S. adversary like Al-Qaeda hired hackers to mount a cyberattack.”

Support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is wavering as the result of the joint strike action by Wikipedia, Google, and the social networks. The multinational Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), after several countries have been reluctant to sign it, looks like a sitting duck. That doesn’t seem to trouble Washington: the “self-evident” threat presented by all those Internet protests will be “managed” by means of a more… how should we put it…

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(*) The National Security Agency (NSA) is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S. government communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography…

By law, NSA’s intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications, although domestic incidents such as the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy have occurred…” (Wikipedia)