Grid resilience means no impact and no attempt
Kaplan 07 (Eben–Associated Editor at the Council of Foreign Relations, “America’s Vulnerable Energy Grid,” 4-27-2007, http://www.cfr.org/publication/13153/americas_vulnerable_energy_grid.html)
Attacks on infrastructure are an almost daily fact of life in Iraq. Experts caution the war in that country will produce a whole generation of terrorists who have honed their skills sabotaging infrastructure. In his recent book, The Edge of Disaster, CFR security expert Stephen E. Flynn cautions, “The terrorist skills acquired are being catalogued and shared in Internet chat rooms.” But when it comes to Iraq’s electrical grid, RAND economist Keith W. Crane says terrorists are not the main cause of disruptions: “Most of the destruction of the control equipment was looting,” he says.
Either way, Clark W. Gellings, vice president of the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry research organization, thinks the U.S. grid is an unlikely target. “It’s not terribly sensational,” he explains, “The system could overcome an attack in hours, or at worst, days.” That said, attacks on electricity infrastructure could become common in future warfare: The U.S. military has designed and entire class of weapons designed to disable power grids.
Cyber attacks are impossible – air gapped systems and PALs solve
Green 2 – editor of The Washington Monthly (Joshua, 11/11, The Myth of Cyberterrorism, http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0211.green.html)
There's just one problem: There is no such thing as cyberterrorism--no instance of anyone ever having been killed by a terrorist (or anyone else) using a computer. Nor is there compelling evidence that al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization has resorted to computers for any sort of serious destructive activity. What's more, outside of a Tom Clancy novel, computer security specialists believe it is virtually impossible to use the Internet to inflict death on a large scale, and many scoff at the notion that terrorists would bother trying. "I don't lie awake at night worrying about cyberattacks ruining my life," says Dorothy Denning, a computer science professor at Georgetown University and one of the country's foremost cybersecurity experts. "Not only does [cyberterrorism] not rank alongside chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, but it is not anywhere near as serious as other potential physical threats like car bombs or suicide bombers."
Which is not to say that cybersecurity isn't a serious problem--it's just not one that involves terrorists. Interviews with terrorism and computer security experts, and current and former government and military officials, yielded near unanimous agreement that the real danger is from the criminals and other hackers who did $15 billion in damage to the global economy last year using viruses, worms, and other readily available tools. That figure is sure to balloon if more isn't done to protect vulnerable computer systems, the vast majority of which are in the private sector. Yet when it comes to imposing the tough measures on business necessary to protect against the real cyberthreats, the Bush administration has balked.
When ordinary people imagine cyberterrorism, they tend to think along Hollywood plot lines, doomsday scenarios in which terrorists hijack nuclear weapons, airliners, or military computers from halfway around the world. Given the colorful history of federal boondoggles--billion-dollar weapons systems that misfire, $600 toilet seats--that's an understandable concern. But, with few exceptions, it's not one that applies to preparedness for a cyberattack. "The government is miles ahead of the private sector when it comes to cybersecurity," says Michael Cheek, director of intelligence for iDefense, a Virginia-based computer security company with government and private-sector clients. "Particularly the most sensitive military systems."
Serious effort and plain good fortune have combined to bring this about. Take nuclear weapons. The biggest fallacy about their vulnerability, promoted in action thrillers like WarGames, is that they're designed for remote operation. "[The movie] is premised on the assumption that there's a modem bank hanging on the side of the computer that controls the missiles," says Martin Libicki, a defense analyst at the RAND Corporation. "I assure you, there isn't." Rather, nuclear weapons and other sensitive military systems enjoy the most basic form of Internet security: they're "air-gapped," meaning that they're not physically connected to the Internet and are therefore inaccessible to outside hackers. (Nuclear weapons also contain "permissive action links," mechanisms to prevent weapons from being armed without inputting codes carried by the president.) A retired military official was somewhat indignant at the mere suggestion: "As a general principle, we've been looking at this thing for 20 years. What cave have you been living in if you haven't considered this [threat]?"
When it comes to cyberthreats, the Defense Department has been particularly vigilant to protect key systems by isolating them from the Net and even from the Pentagon's internal network. All new software must be submitted to the National Security Agency for security testing. "Terrorists could not gain control of our spacecraft, nuclear weapons, or any other type of high-consequence asset," says Air Force Chief Information Officer John Gilligan. For more than a year, Pentagon CIO John Stenbit has enforced a moratorium on new wireless networks, which are often easy to hack into, as well as common wireless devices such as PDAs, BlackBerrys, and even wireless or infrared copiers and faxes.
The September 11 hijackings led to an outcry that airliners are particularly susceptible to cyberterrorism. Earlier this year, for instance, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) described "the absolute havoc and devastation that would result if cyberterrorists suddenly shut down our air traffic control system, with thousands of planes in mid-flight." In fact, cybersecurity experts give some of their highest marks to the FAA, which reasonably separates its administrative and air traffic control systems and strictly air-gaps the latter. And there's a reason the 9/11 hijackers used box-cutters instead of keyboards: It's impossible to hijack a plane remotely, which eliminates the possibility of a high-tech 9/11 scenario in which planes are used as weapons.
No solvency–massive bureaucracy overhaul’s a prerequisite.
Kohlmann 6 (Evan F. Kohlmann, Foreign Affairs, “The Real Online Terrorist Threat” http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060901faessay85510/evan-f-kohlmann/the-real-online-terrorist-threat.html)
To counter terrorists, the U.S. government must learn how to monitor their activity online, in the same way that it keeps tabs on terrorists in the real world. Doing so will require a realignment of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, which lag behind terrorist organizations in adopting information technologies. At present, unfortunately, senior counterterrorism officials refuse even to pay lip service to the need for such reforms. That must change -- and fast.
Jenkins-Smith 04 – professor of government at Texas A&M (Hank, “U.S. Public Response to Terrorism: Fault Lines or Bedrock,” http://www.spp.gatech.edu/current-students/exams/Fall-2004_reviewmanuscript.pdf)
Our final contrasting set of expectations relate to the degree to which the public will support or demand retribution against terrorists and supporting states. Here our data show that support for using conventional U.S. military force to retaliate against terrorists initially averaged above midscale, but did not reach a high level of emotional demand for military action. Initial support declined significantly across all demographic and belief categories by the time of our survey in 2002. Furthermore, panelists both in 2001 and 2002 preferred that high levels of certainty about culpability (above 8.5 on a scale from zero to ten) be established before taking military action. Again, we find the weight of evidence supporting revisionist expectations of public opinion.
Overall, these results are inconsistent with the contention that highly charged events will result in volatile and unstructured responses among mass publics that prove problematic for policy processes. The initial response to the terrorist strikes, in the immediate aftermath of the event, demonstrated a broad and consistent shift in public assessments toward a greater perceived threat from terrorism, and greater willingness to support policies to reduce that threat. But even in the highly charged context of such a serious attack on the American homeland, the overall public response was quite measured. On average, the public showed very little propensity to undermine speech protections, and initial willing-ness to engage in military retaliation moderated significantly over the following year.
The high difficulty means they won’t try
Harper, 09 – Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute (Jim, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Technology & Innovation Committee on Science and Technology United States House of Representatives “Assessing Cybersecurity Activities at NIST and DHS,” 6/25, http://www.cato.org/testimony/ct-jh-20090625.html)
Take cyberterrorism. With communications networks, computing infrastructure, and data stores under regular attack from a variety of quarters—and regularly strengthening to meet them—it is highly unlikely that terrorists can pull off a cybersecurity event disruptive enough to instill widespread fear of further disruption. Fear is a necessary element for terrorism to work its will, of course. The impotence of computer problems to instill fear renders "cyberterrorism" an unlikely threat. This is not to deny the importance of preventing the failure of infrastructure, of course.