Listening to snippets of the AG and President about the new CT strategy throughout the day brought to mind three things:
The first is that it is nice to see that someone has finally dusted off and started reading all those assessment my colleagues and I wrote about terrorism and the ‘Net not that we were the first or the only, but it was what we got paid to do. If I were more cynical I’d say that they were dredging the bottom of the barrel of ideas since us cyber guys and gals usually got short shrift but I gave up raw, unadulterated cynicism for Lent.
The second is that we can probably expect more chit-chat about how scary the .com-ers are going to be, which is certainly a concern though not one I loose a lot of sleep over. Frankly, you become as good a terrorist from online learning as you do a swordsman playing World of Warcraft. I can drill 9mm holes in a target the size of a cookie from 7 meters out because I actually practice drilling 9mm holes in a target that size. I don’t care how good you are at a FPS, in a gunfight I’m the one that’ll be walking home.
Having said that, the AG is right in that the movement of terrorism training online is going to create a lot more “homegrown” terrorists with mediocre or worse skills. What I don’t see anyone talking about how we’re re-tooling to combat the threat. More bad guys operating domestically means a greater demand for domestic intelligence. It also means that there will probably be less national-international phone and email comms to monitor and more strictly internal comms to keep watch over. If anything the need for a real domestic intelligence capability – separate from law enforcement – has never been greater, but you don’t see that in any strategy document. Consequently expect to see more revelations about needed but questionable “domestic spying” programs . . .