Max Boot is a Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2004, he was named by the World Affairs Councils of America as one of "the 500 most influential people in the United States in the field of foreign policy." In 2007, he won the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism. From 1992 to 1994 he was an editor and writer at the Christian Science Monitor. Boot holds a bachelor's degree in history, with high honors, from the University of California, Berkeley and a master's degree in history from Yale University. Boot has served as an adviser to U.S. commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the published author of Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present. From the article: “Stay calm and let the NSA carry on” - LA Times – June 9th - http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/09/opinion/la-oe-boot-nsa-surveillance-20130609
After 9/11, there was a widespread expectation of many more terrorist attacks on the United States. So far that hasn't happened. We haven't escaped entirely unscathed (see Boston Marathon, bombing of), but on the whole we have been a lot safer than most security experts, including me, expected.In light of the current controversy over the National Security Agency's monitoring of telephone calls and emails, it is worthwhile to ask: Why is that?It is certainly not due to any change of heart among our enemies. Radical Islamists still want to kill American infidels. But the vast majority of the time, they fail. The Heritage Foundation estimated last year that 50 terrorist attacks on the American homeland had been foiled since 2001. Some, admittedly, failed through sheer incompetence on the part of the would-be terrorists. For instance, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani American jihadist, planted a car bomb in Times Square in 2010 that started smoking before exploding, thereby alerting two New Yorkers who in turn called police, who were able to defuse it. But it would be naive to adduce all of our security success to pure serendipity. Surely more attacks would have succeeded absent the ramped-up counter-terrorism efforts undertaken by the U.S. intelligence community, the military and law enforcement. And a large element of the intelligence community's success lies in its use of special intelligence — that is, communications intercepts. The CIA is notoriously deficient in human intelligence — infiltrating spies into terrorist organizations is hard to do, especially when we have so few spooks who speak Urdu, Arabic, Persian and other relevant languages. But the NSA is the best in the world at intercepting communications. That is the most important technical advantage we havein the battle against fanatical foes who will not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to take ours. Which brings us to the current kerfuffle over two NSA monitoring programs that have been exposed by the Guardian and the Washington Post. One program apparently collects metadata on all telephone calls made in the United States. Another program provides access to all the emails, videos and other data found on the servers of major Internet firms such as Google, Apple and Microsoft. At first blush these intelligence-gathering activities raise the specter of Big Brother snooping on ordinary American citizens who might be cheating on their spouses or bad-mouthing the president. In fact, there are considerable safeguards built into both programs to ensure that doesn't happen. The phone-monitoring program does not allow the NSA to listen in on conversations without a court order.All that it can do is to collect information on the time, date and destination of phone calls. It should go without saying that it would be pretty useful to know if someone in the U.S. is calling a number in Pakistan or Yemen that is used by a terrorist organizer. As for the Internet-monitoring program, reportedly known as PRISM, it is apparently limited to "non-U.S. persons" who are abroad and thereby enjoy no constitutional protections. These are hardly rogue operations. Both programs were initiated by President George W. Bush and continued by President Obama with the full knowledge and support of Congress and continuing oversight from the federal judiciary. That's why the leaders of both the House and Senate intelligence committees, Republicans and Democrats alike, have come to the defense of these activities. It's possible that, like all government programs, these could be abused — see, for example, the IRS making life tough on tea partiers. But there is no evidence of abuse so farand plenty of evidence — in the lack of successful terrorist attacks — that these programs have been effective in disrupting terrorist plots. Granted there is something inherently creepy about Uncle Sam scooping up so much information about us. But Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Citibank and other companies know at least as much about us, because they use very similar data-mining programs to track our online movements. They gather that information in order to sell us products, and no one seems to be overly alarmed. The NSA is gathering that information to keep us safe from terrorist attackers. Yet somehow its actions have become a "scandal," to use a term now loosely being tossed around. The real scandal here is that the Guardian and Washington Post are compromising our national security by telling our enemies about our intelligence-gathering capabilities. Their news stories reveal, for example, that only nine Internet companies share information with the NSA. This is a virtual invitation to terrorists to use other Internet outlets for searches, email, apps and all the rest. No intelligence effort can ever keep us 100% safe, but to stop or scale back the NSA's special intelligence efforts would amount to unilateral disarmament in a war against terrorism that is far from over.
(Note to students: a “longitudinal study” is research carried out over an extended period of time. In this case, several years.)
Link – curtailing surveillance boosts terror risks. That risk’s serious and underestimated.
James Andrew Lewis is a senior fellow and director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., where he writes on technology, security, and the international economy. Before joining CSIS, he worked at the US Departments of State and Commerce as a Foreign Service officer and as a member of the Senior Executive Service. His diplomatic experience included negotiations on military basing in Asia, the Cambodia peace process, and the five-power talks on arms transfer restraint. Lewis received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. “Underestimating Risk in the Surveillance Debate” - CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES - STRATEGIC TECHNOLOGIES PROGRAM – December - http://csis.org/publication/underestimating-risk-surveillance-debate
Americans are reluctant to accept terrorism is part of their daily lives, but attacks have been planned or attempted against American targets (usually airliners or urban areas) almost every yearsince 9/11.Europe faces even greater risk, given the thousands of European Union citizens who will return hardened and radicalized from fighting in Syria and Iraq. The threat of attack is easy to exaggerate, but that does not mean it is nonexistent. Australia’s then-attorney general said in August 2013 that communications surveillance had stopped four “mass casualty events” since 2008. The constant planning and preparation for attack by terrorist groups is not apparent to the public. The dilemma in assessing risk is that it is discontinuous. There can be long periods with no noticeable activity, only to have the apparent calm explode.The debate over how to reform communications surveillance has discounted this risk.Communications surveillance is an essential law enforcement and intelligence tool. There is no replacement for it.Some suggestions for alternative approaches to surveillance, such as the idea that the National Security Agency (NSA) only track known or suspected terrorists, reflect wishful thinking, as it is the unknown terrorist who will inflict the greatest harm.
Vigilance link - Strong intel gathering’s key to discourages initiation of BW attacks.
US Rep. Robert Pittenger, chair of Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, “Bipartisan bill on NSA data collection protects both privacy and national security” - Washington Examiner, 6/9/14, http://washingtonexaminer.com/rep.-robert-pittenger-bipartisan-bill-on-nsa-data-collection-protects-both-privacy-and-national-security/article/2549456?custom_click=rss&utm_campaign=Weekly+Standard+Story+Box&utm_source=weeklystandard.com&utm_medium=referral
This February, I took that question to a meeting of European Ambassadors at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. During the conference, I asked three questions: 1. What is the current worldwide terrorist threat? 2. What is America’s role in addressing and mitigating this threat? 3. What role does intelligence data collection play inthis process, given the multiple platforms for attack including physical assets, cyber, chemical, biological, nuclearand the electric grid?Each ambassador acknowledgedthe threat was greater today than before 9/11, with al Qaeda and other extreme Islamist terroristsstronger, more sophisticated, and having a dozen or more training camps throughout the Middle East and Africa. As to the role of the United States, they felt our efforts were primary and essential for peace and security around the world.Regarding the intelligence-gathering, their consensus was, “We want privacy, but we must have your intelligence.” As a European foreign minister stated to me, “Without U.S. intelligence, we are blind.” We cannot yield to those loud but misguided voices who view the world as void of the deadly and destructive intentions ofunrelenting terrorists. The number of terrorism-related deaths worldwide doubledbetween 2012 and 2013, jumping from 10,000 to 20,000 in just one year. Now is not the time to stand down.Those who embrace an altruistic worldview should remember thatvigilanceand strengthhave deterred our enemies in the past. That same commitment is required today to defeat those who seek to destroy usand our way of life. We must make careful, prudent use of all available technology to counter their sophisticated operations if we are to maintain our freedom and liberties.
Bioterror attacks cause extinction
Nathan, Began college at age 14, BS and Masters from UCLA, Masters and PhD, Princeton “Strategic Terrorism: A Call to Action,” Working Draft, The Lawfare Research Paper Series Research paper NO . 2 – 2013
As horrible as this would be, such a pandemic is by no means the worst attack one can imagine, for several reasons. First, most of the classic bioweapons are based on 1960s and 1970s technology because the 1972 treaty halted bioweapons development efforts in the United States and most other Western countries. Second, the Russians, although solidly committed to biological weapons long after the treaty deadline, were never on the cutting edge of biological research. Third and most important, the science and technology of molecular biology have made enormous advances, utterly transforming the field in the last few decades. High school biology students routinely perform molecular-biology manipulations that would have been impossible even for the best superpower-funded program back in the heyday of biological-weapons research. The biowarfare methods of the 1960s and 1970s are now as antiquated as the lumbering mainframe computers of that era.Tomorrow’s terrorists will have vastly more deadly bugs to choose from. Consider this sobering development: in 2001, Australian researchers working on mousepox, a nonlethal virus that infects mice (as chickenpox does in humans), accidentally discovered that a simple genetic modification transformed the virus.10, 11 Instead of producing mild symptoms, the new virus killed 60% of even those mice already immune to the naturally occurring strains of mousepox. The new virus, moreover, was unaffected by any existing vaccine or antiviral drug. A team of researchers at Saint Louis University led by Mark Buller picked up on that work and, by late 2003, found a way to improve on it: Buller’s variation on mousepox was 100% lethal, although his team of investigators also devised combination vaccine and antiviral therapies that were partially effective in protecting animals from the engineered strain.12, 13 Another saving grace is that the genetically altered virus is no longer contagious. Of course, it is quite possible that future tinkering with the virus will change that property, too. Strong reasons exist to believe that the genetic modifications Buller made to mousepox would work for other poxviruses and possibly for other classes of viruses as well. Might the same techniques allow chickenpox or another poxvirus that infects humans to be turned into a 100% lethal bioweapon, perhaps one that is resistant to any known antiviral therapy? I’ve asked this question of experts many times, and no one has yet replied that such a manipulation couldn’t be done. This case is just one example. Many more are pouring out of scientific journals and conferences every year. Just last year, the journal Nature published a controversial study done at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in which virologists enumerated the changes one would need to make to a highly lethal strain of bird flu to make it easily transmitted from one mammal to another.14 Biotechnology is advancing so rapidly that it is hard to keep track of all the new potential threats. Nor is it clear that anyone is even trying. In addition to lethality and drug resistance, many other parameters can be played with, given that the infectious power of an epidemic depends on many properties, including the length of the latency period during which a person is contagious but asymptomatic. Delaying the onset of serious symptoms allows each new case to spread to more people and thus makes the virus harder to stop.This dynamic is perhaps best illustrated by HIV , which is very difficult to transmit compared with smallpox and many other viruses. Intimate contact is needed, and even then, the infection rate is low. The balancing factor is that HIV can take years to progress to AIDS , which can then take many more years to kill the victim. What makes HIV so dangerous is that infected people have lots of opportunities to infect others. This property has allowed HIV to claim more than 30 million lives so far, and approximately 34 million people are now living with this virus and facing a highly uncertain future.15 A virus genetically engineered to infect its host quickly, to generate symptoms slowly—say, only after weeks or months—and to spread easily through the air or by casual contact would be vastly more devastating than HIV . It could silently penetrate the population to unleash its deadly effects suddenly. This type of epidemic would be almost impossible to combat because most of the infections would occur before the epidemic became obvious.A technologically sophisticated terrorist group could develop such a virus and kill a large part of humanity with it. Indeed, terrorists may not have to develop it themselves: some scientist may do so first and publish the details. Given the rate at which biologists are making discoveries about viruses and the immune system, at some point in the near future, someone may create artificial pathogens that could drive the human race to extinction. Indeed, a detailed species-elimination plan of this nature was openly proposed in a scientific journal. The ostensible purpose of that particular research was to suggest a way to extirpate the malaria mosquito, but similar techniques could be directed toward humans.16 When I’ve talked to molecular biologists about this method, they are quick to point out that it is slow and easily detectable and could be fought with biotech remedies. If you challenge them to come up with improvements to the suggested attack plan, however, they have plenty of ideas. Modern biotechnology will soon be capable, if it is not already, of bringing about the demise of the human race— or at least of killing a sufficient number of people to end high-tech civilization and set humanity back 1,000 years or more. That terrorist groups could achieve this level of technological sophistication may seem far-fetched, but keep in mind that it takes only a handful of individuals to accomplish these tasks. Never has lethal power of this potency been accessible to so few, so easily. Even more dramatically than nuclear proliferation, modern biological science has frighteningly undermined the correlation between the lethality of a weapon and its cost, a fundamentally stabilizing mechanism throughout history. Access to extremely lethal agents—lethal enough to exterminate Homo sapiens—will be available to anybody with a solid background in biology, terrorists included.
The Disad turns the case via rollback and new civil liberty violations. Status Quo detection is key.
(et al; This is the Final Report and Recommendations of The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. President Obama ordered a blue-ribbon task force to review domestic surveillance. This report releases the findings of that group. The report was headed by five experts – including Richard Alan Clarke, who is the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States. Other expert contributors include Michael Joseph Morell, who was the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and served as acting director twice in 2011 and from 2012 to 2013 and Cass Robert Sunstein, who was the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration and is currently a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “LIBERTY AND SECURITY IN A CHANGING WORLD” – December 12th, 2013 – Easily obtained via a google search. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB4QFjAA&url=https%3A%2F2Fwww.whitehouse.gov%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fdocs%2F2013-12 12_rg_final_report.pdf&ei=Db0yVdDjKIKdNtTXgZgE&usg=AFQjCNH0S_Fo9dckL9bRarVpi4M6pq6MQ&bvm=bv.91071109,d.eXY)
The September 11 attacks were a vivid demonstration of the need for detailed information about the activities of potential terrorists. This was so for several reasons. First, some information, which could have been useful, was not collected and other information, which could have helped to prevent the attacks, was not shared among departments. Second, the scale of damage that 21st-century terrorists can inflict is far greater than anything that their predecessors could have imagined. We are no longer dealing with threats from firearms and conventional explosives, but with the possibility of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear devices and biological and chemical agents. The damage that such attacks could inflict on the nation, measured in terms of loss of life, economic and social disruption, and the consequent sacrifice of civil liberties, is extraordinary. The events of September 11 brought this home with crystal clarity. Third, 21st-century terrorists operate within a global communications network that enables them both to hide their existence from outsiders and to communicate with one another across continents at the speed of light. Effective safeguards against terrorist attacks require the technological capacity to ferret out such communications in an international communications grid. Fourth, many of the international terrorists that the United States and other nations confront today cannot realistically be deterred by the fear of punishment. The conventional means of preventing criminal conduct—the fear of capture and subsequent punishment—has relatively little role to play in combating some contemporary terrorists. Unlike the situation during the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union was deterred from launching a nuclear strike against the United States in part by its fear of a retaliatory counterattack, the terrorist enemy in the 21st-century is not a nation state against which the United States and its allies can retaliate with the same effectiveness. In such circumstances, detection in advance is essential in any effort to “provide for the common defence.” Fifth, the threat of massive terrorist attacks involving nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons can generate a chilling and destructive environment of fear and anxiety among our nation’s citizens. If Americans came to believe that we are infiltrated by enemies we cannot identify and who have the power to bring death, destruction, and chaos to our lives on a massive scale, and thatpreventing such attacks is beyond the capacity of our government, the quality of national life would be greatly imperiled.Indeed, if a similar or even more devastating attack were to occur in the future, there would almost surely be an impulse to increase the use of surveillance technology to prevent further strikes, despite the potentially corrosive effects on individual freedom and self-governance.