Is my novel Privacy Wars real, or is it fiction?
In every media interview I was asked the same thing, “Do you think Snowden was a hero or a traitor for leaking what the government was doing?” My answer was always the same. “I don’t know the man personally. I have no idea of his motives, but I’m glad he did it.”
Now, over three years later, Congress and the Federal Courts agree. And again, this topic is coming up in all my media interviews.
I think this is a good thing, perhaps hopeful for America. One of the few issues that the left and the right may be able to agree upon is the need to protect both personal privacy and our First Amendment rights.
America is losing the Cyber Wars and everyone who is competent and paying attention knows it. Privacy Wars is back and is as current as today’s headlines. Three things, all of them huge, have changed since it was published:
- “Big Brother” went too far. Government intrusion took a smack-down.
- The world knows we no longer can protect our data. Our current bureaucracies have become so incompetent that all our systems and databases are being hacked by criminals and foreign governments.
- Our enemies have better cyber security than we do. At the same time that our own corrupt, crony bureaucracies have failed to protect America’s own national defense and commercial databases, enemies and terrorists have gained secure encryption that our government cannot break.
America’s “Total Surveillance State” had a major setback. After a contentious fight, the Patriot Act was stripped of Section 215 which allowed for bulk collection of all telephone records. This is a level of intrusion that our Constitution forbids, but one that would make the Gestapo or KGB envious.
The old law was sufficiently vague that Obama argued such collection was allowed. As a policy, he collected and archived our private records without oversight. Now this is explicitly illegal.
The new law sets a bright red line. We still don’t know — and likely never will — how the government was using illegal cyber intrusion to target law abiding citizens, perhaps (like the IRS scandal) for blatant partisan political purposes. The law now says this must stop.
The bad news: There are other watchers. Enemies who are excellent hackers.
Despite our own government’s aspirations for Orwellian surveillance of citizens, it is becoming clear that we’ve lost our edge, our advanced technology superiority. This is the same government that suffered embarrassment and wasted large sums to demonstrate it could NOT build a basic website to process ObamaCare enrollment.
Washington now lives in an Age of Cronyism with bloated, corrupt, dysfunctional, and unaccountable bureaucracies. The Federal Government’s records were hacked again. They were compromised in early 2014, but, as with Benghazi, Team Obama managed to keep the lid on for some time.
The political hack who presided over this, Katherine Archuleta, was the former national political director of Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. She was not fired, charged, or held accountable, but she did just resign.
China is suspected this time, with Reuters first saying some 4 million records were involved. This was later corrected to a true figure of at least 21.5 million records, including 5.1 million fingerprints of those with the most sensitive clearances. The massive breach compromised personnel data, including security clearances, not just for the military, but also for anyone holding a DOD security clearance including state and local law enforcement, civilians, Border Patrol, State Department, FBI, CIA, etc.
We’ve suffered a “Sputnik moment,” an act of Cyber War that shows us vulnerable to attack. The media and Congress are not saying much about this, but the truth is that this was a disaster of epic magnitude. One source called it “Noah’s Flood.” Another likened it to the Soviet theft of our Atomic Bomb secrets back in the 1950s, the act that led to the Cold War that caused two generations to live in fear of a nuclear holocaust.
Consider: Benghazi got four brave Americans killed. How many might die if this targeting information was leaked (perhaps through a 3rd party state like Iran) to jihadist groups like ISIS who have active cells in American?
All Americans touched by this data breach have had their privacy compromised including pictures, addresses, fingerprints, SSNs, bank accounts, friends, etc. All of our operatives now have targets painted on their backs. This is potentially a death sentence for our covert agents whose fingerprints have been hacked.
All ISIS has to do to self-recruit lone wolves is to publish the addresses of those defending us and to say, “Kill them for Allah.” The head of the FBI has warned us publicly that because the terrorists now have secure encryption he can’t stop them. Current Administration policies and the lack of oversight by Congress put our citizens at extreme risk.
In addition to this HUGE data breach, we also have the Hillary Clinton server scandal, where over 2,000 classified documents [some well over TOP SECRET] were compromised. The FBI is on her heels, but she is still being allowed to run for President. It seems unlikely that Obama will allow her to be charged and prosecuted.
“I can tell you this is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.”
— Barrack Obama, October 2015
“I continue to believe that she [Hillary] has not jeopardized America’s national security.”
— Barrack Obama, April 2016
Note: Obama can ‘tell” or “believe” what he wishes, but the fact is that even “gross negligence” in handing classified information is enough for criminal liability. Any normal person would be facing 20 years or more in prison for less than what Hillary has done.
In addition, while our own data is compromised, Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS now have secure communications that NSA can’t break.
Reference: The Coder Who Encrypted Your Texts. “Moxie Marlinspike has spooked the FBI by creating a tool that the police can’t crack.” Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2015, pg. B1. [The genius coder in my novel, Privacy Wars, William Giles, has similar skills, but superior morality and ethics.]
Months later, the November 2015 attacks in Paris saw classified testimony to Congress that ISIS was using unbreakable end-to-end encryption to avoid detection in France, Syria, etc. Well, Duh!! And STILL NO MENTION of their doing this in America to facilitate the “lone wolf” attacks we’ve been suffering (Roseburg, Chattanooga, etc.) here.
The FBI says we have active ISIS cells in all 50 states, and Obama plans to import thousands of unvetted Muslim “refugees.” This is Hijrah.
Update on the OPM breach: Recent Senate testimony has more than doubled the number of patriotic American’s “outed.” The number is now 21 million, and still climbing. Here is what the military is saying internally:
Anxiety is spreading among defense officials and the military community that the recent theft of federal government data linked to China may affect hundreds of thousands of service members.
Compounding those concerns is the limited information made public by the Office of Personnel Management.
Some military officials believe the recent hack targeting the civilian-run OPM seized information from tens of thousands of Standard Form 86s, which are required for all service members and civilians seeking a security clearance. That includes service members of all ranks, officers and enlisted, in a wide range of job specialties and assignments.
“They got everyone’s SF-86,” one Pentagon official familiar with the investigation told Military Times.
The SF-86, a 127-page document, asks government employees to disclose information about family members, friends and past employment as well as details on alcohol and drug use, mental illness, credit ratings, bankruptcies, arrest records and court actions.
Given the scale of the breach as publicly disclosed by the Obama administration and OPM, it’s likely that the hackers obtained the SF-86 data of every military member who filled out the form on a computer, something that has been standard practice in Defense Department for well over a decade, said a retired senior intelligence community official who writes a blog under the pen name Victor Socotra.
The services began to make the digital SF-86 form mandatory in 2007, but service members used the digital form for years before that.
“They had access on everyone who has applied for a security clearance: families, residences and job assignments, bank records,” Socotra said. “If that’s not an absolute calamity, I don’t know what is.” Read more: Link. Link.
If all this makes you uncomfortable about the “ObamaCare core,” the shared data base run by the IRS with all your health, tax, and financial records, you are starting to catch on. Link.
And do enjoy Privacy Wars. It’s gotten excellent reviews. Hopefully it will both entertain and inform. Thank you for reading.
Read my July 4th 2000 note about American’s privacy being targeted: Link.
Here is my post about Privacy Wars, from when it first came out. Link. And my more recent one, alluding to Obama’s legacy plans for an Orwellian-named “Strong Cities” UN peacekeeper force in America, just as in my novel. Link.