Sen. Feinstein More Worried About Reaction To The Leak About Stuxnet, Rather Than Reaction To Stuxnet Itself
from the missing-the-point dept
Last week, we wrote about the NYTimes investigative report that revealed that the US government was behind Stuxnet, and that President Obama was very, very involved in the process. It was widely assumed that the US was involved, but this revealed a bunch of details. We were surprised that the White House appeared not to pressure the NYTs to kill the story (as it has with other leaks of classified info), but wondered if the fact that this made the White House look “tough” and showed a “success story” for the administration, caused them to let it go forward. Since then, however, reports have come out that the FBI is investigating the leak, and Senator Feinstein is similarly calling for hearings on the leak (though, the cynical might argue that this just keeps the “success story” in the news).
But, the most bizarre response to this also comes from Senator Feinstein, who publicly worried that the leak would lead to copycat attacks against the US. The leak. Not the actual attack:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said the leak about the attack on Iran’s nuclear program could “to some extent” provide justification for copycat attacks against the United States.
“This is like an avalanche. It is very detrimental and, candidly, I found it very concerning,” Feinstein said. “There’s no question that this kind of thing hurts our country.”
This is, to put it mildly, crazy. The argument appears to be that it’s okay to do technological attacks… just as long as it’s all done in secret and no one ever talks about it. Without the leak, the attack still happened, and that information became public quite some time ago. If anything was going to inspire copycat attacks it would have been that. Though, even then, the claim is questionable. Those who wish to do this country harm haven’t been sitting around saying “gee, we can’t do anything technological” until they saw Stuxnet come along.
What’s really ridiculous about Feinstein’s statement is the basic chilling effects that it puts forth. It suggests that the US government can do whatever it wants in attacking other countries, just so long as no one ever talks about it. The talking about factual information isn’t the issue here. And Feinstein should know that, rather than suggesting that basic investigative reporting is the problem.