Feds’ cyberterror defenses envision new threat: Bloggers

posted at 11:05 am on January 31, 2008 by Allahpundit

“Imagined villains include hackers, bloggers and even reporters,” writes the AP of DHS’s massive “Cyber Storm” wargame two years ago, but the details are thin. Glenn Reynolds, terrorist?

It’s the government’s idea of a really bad day: Washington’s Metro trains shut down. Seaport computers in New York go dark. Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials. Airport control towers are disrupted in Philadelphia and Chicago. Overseas, a mysterious liquid is found on London’s subway…

After mock electronic attacks overwhelmed computers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an unspecified “major news network” airing reports about the attackers refused to reveal its sources to the government. Other simulated reporters were duped into spreading “believable but misleading” information that worsened fallout by confusing the public and financial markets, according to the government’s files.

Joyner wonders why bloggers would need to pass along state secrets or enemy propaganda when the AP and New York Times are already so good at it. The “unwitting dupe” scenario is more likely — some of the early false reports about 9/11, like Flight 93 landing in Cleveland, are alive and well in some unwell quarters today — but if anything, the collective intelligence of the ‘sphere would help to debunk rumors, not spread them.

What does the bit about revealing the locations of hazardous materials mean, though? Are they suggesting bloggers would do this … intentionally? As in, a genuine fifth-column scenario?


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Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials.

Has the New York Times started a blog?

Tzetzes on January 31, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Well….

I’m glad I can envision a day when I control the world.

Let me get back to you with my plans.

Mcguyver on January 31, 2008 at 11:16 AM

Are you saying the Daily Kos and HuffPo wouldn’t act as a fifth column? I dare say that HA and Ace wouldn’t, at least knowingly. Plus, the commenters are from all over the country, heck, all over the world. It is we who might lend credibility to this scenario. Again, unwittingly.

pistolero on January 31, 2008 at 11:18 AM

“even reporters”????? ESPECIALLY reporters.

bloggless on January 31, 2008 at 11:20 AM

I’m having an almost Ronulan moment where I get a chill down my spine about how this kind of approach, if taken seriously, could spell new legislation regulating the internet.

Someone help.

MadisonConservative on January 31, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Doesn’t the Jawa Report Blog go up against these terrorist blogs all the time to get them shut down? I would think the report is referencing those terrorist friendly bloggers who infest the internet like cockroaches.

Stormy70 on January 31, 2008 at 11:22 AM

What does the bit about revealing the locations of hazardous materials mean, though? Are they suggesting bloggers would do this … intentionally? As in, a genuine fifth-column scenario?

There must be some? We here on the right, Kos/Huff on the left… isn’t it already known that the enemy uses cyberspace (Cyberspace? Oh, look at the little William Gibson fan; how cute!)? There must be some out there, same as the Japanese used “tourists” and phoned ordinary citizens with unusual questions prior to Pearl Harbor…

Frozen Tex on January 31, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Enter McCain, stage right

F the Constitution!

LimeyGeek on January 31, 2008 at 11:30 AM


but if anything, the collective intelligence of the ’sphere would help to debunk rumors, not spread them.

Seriously? Over the long-term maybe, but in the middle of a crisis? No way.

The “collective intelligence” of internet users was supposed to make Wikipedia as reliable and authoritative as any traditional encyclopedia, maybe even more so. Didn’t quite work out that way, did it?

jic on January 31, 2008 at 11:30 AM

Pinky: ” Gee, Brain what do you want to do tonight?”
Brain: “The same thing we do every night Pinky. Try to take over the world!

someguy on January 31, 2008 at 11:38 AM

Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials.
Has the New York Times started a blog?

Tzetzes on January 31, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Hitting the nail on the head.

regal on January 31, 2008 at 11:53 AM

“Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials.”

Of course the agents in bunny suits who found the post failed to notice it’s was linking the NYT’s front page carrying an AP wire story which quoted an unnamed DHS official.

Dusty on January 31, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I never did trust AP.

amkun on January 31, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Glenn already has PETA after him…

http://www.imao.us/archives/000567.html#000567

Damian P. on January 31, 2008 at 12:18 PM

but if anything, the collective intelligence of the ’sphere would help to debunk rumors, not spread them.

The rumors tend to make more of an impression than the debunking.

RightOFLeft on January 31, 2008 at 12:21 PM

I like how the AP says “even reporters,” but doesn’t apply that qualifier to bloggers.

TallDave on January 31, 2008 at 12:40 PM

Point taken about the NYT and the AP.

What does the bit about revealing the locations of hazardous materials mean, though? Are they suggesting bloggers would do this … intentionally? As in, a genuine fifth-column scenario?

Who are the bloggers? I think it’s weird when bloggers act like there’s some unique quality or ethics that bloggers have. If a person or people would do something, then a blogger would do it.

the collective intelligence of the ’sphere would help to debunk rumors, not spread them.

The problem is there is no ‘collective intelligence’ of the ‘sphere. There are unique clusters of intelligence/rumor spreading that don’t necessarily intermingle. Sure, you might be here debunking some DKos (or alQaeda blogging group) claim, but if those 900,000 viewers never come here, nothing has been debunked.
How many people do you think read that White Phosphorous caramelizes the skin, and still think it?

It would be dangerous for the wargame not to include bloggers.

MayBee on January 31, 2008 at 12:47 PM

This doesn’t surprise me in the least. The more power that the People give to the State, the less power that they have and, more ominously, the more subject they are to the State. The time will come when the State will seek to control all facets of speech, opinions and commentary. Why will this happen? Because Americans have, by generational increments, been indoctrinated into Socialism – the State is more important than the individual. Obey the State … the State knows what is best for you. By extension, the State knows what is a danger to you – and if it’s your speech, your opinions or your commentaries – you will answer to the State. And you will be silenced.

Read the above sort as sort of a contemporary Mein Kampf – the State has promised to scrutinize you; and the State will eventually carry out its promises.

OhEssYouCowboys on January 31, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Are they suggesting bloggers would do this … intentionally? As in, a genuine fifth-column scenario?

Not sure what they’re suggesting. But for my part, I’m counting on it happening. I see it coming both from the subversive left within, and from bloggers/infiltration from abroad.

Obviously, if the confluence of WMD and terrorism creates a dangerous world, the internet magnifies the danger immensely.

petefrt on January 31, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Is blogging really anything other than speaking your mind? If they’re discussing the dangers of free people talking openly in any forum, even the internet, bad things can’t be far behind. Of course this could easily be paraded around as a national defense idea, but actually used to silence the opposition…whoever that is.

blankminde on January 31, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Well, I do feel terrorized in the sense that Instapundit seems like an ongoing Amazon commercial sometimes.

lorien1973 on January 31, 2008 at 1:06 PM

OhEssYouCowboys on January 31, 2008 at 12:53 PM
Very well put. I wonder if there’s any way to rage against the oncoming socialism that isn’t equally radical and repulsive? More importantly, if the GOP is a farce who would start such a movement? Answers I do not have. I know its not Ron Paul though…

blankminde on January 31, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Is blogging really anything other than speaking your mind?

It certainly can be. It can also be spreading rumors, debunking rumors, or outright lying for your own (or others’) purposes. It can be malicious or it can be good.

MayBee on January 31, 2008 at 1:14 PM

Obviously, if the confluence of WMD and terrorism creates a dangerous world, the internet magnifies the danger immensely.–petefrt on January 31, 2008 at 12:58 PM

…linking the NYT’s front page carrying an AP wire story which quoted an unnamed DHS official.–Dusty on January 31, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Unnamed official “sources” are as fabricated as the words spun by the pen as clarion.

It is liberty’s odious fate to suffer the worst from the best.

maverick muse on January 31, 2008 at 1:20 PM

What does the bit about revealing the locations of hazardous materials mean, though?

It might just be poor wording/reporting on the AP’s part. “Bloggers” might be their word for anyone spreading information via websites (e.g., jihadi websites). I really wouldn’t take one article’s wording as indicative of anything. Reporters, like bloggers, are known more for their speed than their accuracy.

calbear on January 31, 2008 at 1:30 PM

It certainly can be. It can also be spreading rumors, debunking rumors, or outright lying for your own (or others’) purposes. It can be malicious or it can be good.

MayBee on January 31, 2008 at 1:14 PM

That’s sort of my point. I can say whatever I want, assuming it isn’t libelous and against a private citizen, and its protected speech. While people often spread rumors and in blogs they aren’t breaking any laws as long as the person they’re talking about is a public figure. As a result we are all responsible to check facts when we talk to people – on blogs and anywhere else. I just don’t see how this could possibly require regulation.

blankminde on January 31, 2008 at 2:49 PM

You for one, may now welcome us bloggers as your new overlords …

Kristopher on January 31, 2008 at 2:52 PM

I just don’t see how this could possibly require regulation.

blankminde- who’s talking about requiring regulation? This is about war gaming using technology, and one of the groups spreading bad information is bloggers. It’s done so they can practice for similar, real life events. Not to implement regulations.
It seems to me the gist of the post is that it is shocking and/or laughable the wargamers would consider bloggers would do such a thing.

MayBee on January 31, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Enter McCain, stage right

F the Constitution!

LimeyGeek on January 31, 2008 at 11:30
If Juan gets to be Pres. he’ll get his revenge on the blogs for his amnesty failure for sure.

SIJ6141 on January 31, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Clearly Tom Cruise is behind this report!

- The Cat

MirCat on January 31, 2008 at 7:08 PM

News item: “Bloggers” are recognized as a threat to the government.

That makes it official: Blogging is the new “Fourth Estate” which has completely replaced the old media.

landlines on February 1, 2008 at 1:23 AM