No one likes us-I don't know whyI couldn't help recalling that dissection of US defence policy after reading the suggestion, in The American Spectator, that the men in black should 'deal with' Wikileaks.
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens
We give them money - but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us - so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them
Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us
We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too
Boom goes London and boom Paris
More room for you and more room for me
They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now
Former GHW Bush Undersecretary of Defence Jed Babbin (oh, come back Merkin Muffley, come back) suggests that
WikiLeaks should be hit with the cyber equivalent of napalm. Let's have that fire sale. Burn, baby, burn.He argues that -
Unless we interdict and disrupt them, WikiLeaks and its progeny will have free rein to publish any secrets that may fall into their hands, or which they can convince or pay people to give them to publish. The courts are not agencies of national defense. The military and intelligence communities are and it is through them we should act.Mr Babbin seems distinctly unimpressed by the US Constitution or by law. He writes that -
Our government has the obligation to act aggressively to protect our secrets. We need to ... make the weapons to fit the fight. That includes development, deployment, and use of every cyber weapon our computer scientists can devise to protect our secrets.
given Assange's actions are based outside the U.S., in nations where Assange is safe from U.S. court action, another "Pentagon Papers" case or even an attempt at prosecution would be pointless. But we have a right to act to protect our secrets. And act we must. So what should be done to prevent Assange from publishing them?Presumably the exploding cigar and glow in the dark cornflakes went out with references to 'whack him' or 'put out a hit'.
A friend of mine, a more-or-less retired CIA paramilitary operative, sees the solution in characteristically simple terms. "We should go get him," he said, speaking of Assange.
When my friend says "get him," he isn't thinking of lawsuits, but of suppressed pistols, car bombs and such. But as heart-warming as it is to envision Assange surveying his breakfast cereal with a Geiger counter, we shouldn't deal with him and WikiLeaks that way.
Babbin suggests that -
The elegance of this is that if we can pull off a decisive cyber operation against WikiLeaks, it can and should be done entirely in secret.What can I say? The spooks are supposed to be independent of the President? The 'intelligence community' should irradiate Iceland or Sweden? Just look after the cute kangaroos.
Plausible deniability, anyone?
And it's easier said than done. WikiLeaks functions, according to one expert I conferred with, through a network of computer servers in several countries. Moreover, Assange has a small army of "supporters" helping to hide and distribute information. The servers' network is hidden behind a wall of anonymous communications links. That makes a cyber attack hard to do, but not impossible.
There are legal restrictions that could prevent our military cyberwarriors from holding the fire sale. Could, but perhaps -- if interpreted aggressively -- wouldn't. This would be a good time to follow the military motto that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. ....
Which brings us back to the spooks. They have the capability, but will they use it?
Probably not. The intelligence community is now ruled by the Department of Justice with the backing of the White House.