History Will Remember the U.S. Government as Going too Easy on Hackers and Leakers
The United States made a nuclear deal with Iran and also paid a ransom to have numerous American hostages/prisoners returned. In exchange, billions of dollars changed hands. In the prior year, the U.S. indicted a number of Iranian hackers for hacking U.S. banks and a dam in the city of Rye in Westchester County, NY.
Thankfully nobody was harmed or killed as a result of the dam attack but it was luck that saved them.
As we have pointed out, being able to identify foreign hackers is a rarity. Had we gotten them into our prison system, we would have sent an incredibly powerful message to hackers worldwide. We would have saved U.S. citizens and corporations potentially billions of dollars in damages.
Instead, we gave billions of dollars to the Iranian government and didn’t get these hackers in return.
Even worse, Chelsea Manning who before altering her sex was Bradley Manning leaked confidential military documents responsible for getting U.S. assets and allies killed. Her prison sentence was shortened by decades for no apparent reason.
We aren’t sure how this is possible but treason is now a partisan issue. These were some negative comments by high-profile Republicans. We could find no negative comments from high-ranking Democrats:
“When I was leading soldiers in Afghanistan, Private Manning was undermining us by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement. “I don’t understand why the president would feel special compassion for someone who endangered the lives of our troops, diplomats, intelligence officers, and allies. We ought not treat a traitor like a martyr.”
“This is just outrageous. Chelsea Manning’s treachery put American lives at risk and exposed some of our nation’s most sensitive secrets,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). “President Obama now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable for their crimes.”
“I’m stunned,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said. “President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence is a grave mistake that I fear will encourage further acts of espionage and undermine military discipline. It also devalues the courage of real whistle-blowers who have used proper channels to hold our government accountable.”
Now, Chelsea Manning is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Maryland. A traitor to the country who did untold damage and would have been executed for the same offense decades ago could soon become a powerful part of our government.
What signal are we sending to hackers around the world and in the U.S.? A terrible one. We aren’t taking cybersecurity seriously. It’s a travesty.
The wars of the future have already begun. It’s a cyberwar and the U.S. is a major target. Our businesses and citizens are on the front lines and fending for themselves. The goal of any government is to protect its citizens and in this capacity – when it comes to cybersecurity, it has let us down.