Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Elections and National Security

Today I listened intently to Jeh Johnson, the former United States Secretary of Homeland Security, testify on Capitol Hill relative to alleged Russian cyber intrusion, and it's effect on the 2016 elections. As someone who has held a security clearance, I am appalled by what I heard. Here's why. From everything I was able to understand, the operation of our elections by political parties that are private, non governmental organizations, has national security implications and therefore are a matter of national security. Yet, these private political parties are allowed to deny the plethora of agencies who's job it is to detect and combat cyber intrusions and to intervene where these types of confirmed breaches have occurred, and to provide assistance in stemming and/or eliminating such threats. I couldn't help but think about a TV commercial I'd recently seen about a security company that only provided security monitoring services to a bank, which only warned it's customers and employees that the bank was being robbed, but were not actually able to do anything about it. In fact, that is exactly what has apparently happened

If we are in agreement that fair, free, open, elections are the life blood of our Constitution and the fiber our our nation, they must remain untampered, and safe from fraud and cyber manipulation. Our election are a matter of national security. How then is it even possible that these private non governmental political organizations who have been entrusted with the election of the President of the United States are allowed to continue to operate when their 17 intelligence agency insist their systems are and have been compromised by a person or persons, who in all probability are actors of a foreign nation. Those agencies have concluded it was Russian...But for matters of national security we're going to have to take their word for it. The whole idea itself is ludicrous and certainly unacceptable. We don't allow any government official to operate in any manner that would put our national security in jeopardy, why should we allow anyone? Especially the compromised! It involves the highest position in government. Yep, that's national security right there.

If we are serious about the integrity of our election system, and we agree that our elections are a matter of national security, we can no longer continue to allow private, non governmental organizations, (political parties), the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of our election systems against cyber intrusion and/or manipulation. Normal civilian, nongovernmental protections and off the shelf software is inadequate. They do not have the requisite capabilities, nor the knowledge required to ensure the integrity of elections from a national security standard.

The fact that the political parties were approached by members of America's national security agencies, and they outright refused their assistance is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue. The security of our elections is at stake. This is a monumental failure and one that Congress, the American people, and every alphabet agency tasked with national security should mandate a remedy to be immediately implemented to ensure these kind of activities cease . To allow this nonchalant approach to national security and election integrity to continue is tantamount to having a counter terrorist swat team surround a suspected terrorist strong hold, then pack up and leave because they heard a voice from inside say "there's nobody home".

No comments:

Post a Comment