Thursday, August 8, 2013

If I were President Obama's Speech Writer…

The president's cancellation of his meeting with Russian President Putin is a totally reactive snit over Snowden. In Chapter 17 of Daddy's Little Felons, I wrote a speech that the President of the United States (POTUS) should have been giving all along. Here is that speech, slightly edited for President Obama
“My fellow Americans,” began the president. “As most of you are aware by now, Chinese and Russian computer systems have been attacking each other for the past three days. Virtually all services in those countries that depend upon interconnected computers have failed. What little communication that is coming from those countries is over obsolete analog phone lines and human-assisted switches. Both China and Russia are blaming each other for the attacks, and the rhetoric is becoming quite heated. It is for that reason that I wanted to take some time tonight and tell you what we know about the situation, as well as how we are trying to help both parties step back from a dangerous precipice.”
“Both Russia and China have been waging an undeclared cyber war against both public and private institutions in the United States for years. Few of their attacks made headlines until early 2009. On April 8th, The Wall Street Journal broke the story detailing how our electricity grid had been penetrated by so-called spies. A little over two weeks later, on April 21st, they carried a front-page story of spies breaking into the Defense Department’s Joint Strike Fighter project and siphoning off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems. Since then, the floodgates have opened and new incidents have been reported almost daily. But this is the least of what I am about to tell you, tonight.” The president clicked a remote and the screen split, with him on the left and a computer presentation screen on the right.
“According to the cyber war task force formed in 2009, every single server located in the United States, public or private, however large or small, is attacked by hackers based in either China or Russia hundreds times every day. There have been three-hundred-twenty-nine extortion attempts in the past two years from international criminals. However, those same attackers are using the identical systems our cyber war task force has identified to attack strategic defense installations and which search for specific technical information that only a well-organized and well-financed government could possibly know about.”
“Until this week, our own cyber crime laws have made it impossible for individuals or corporations to do more than put up fences. Any attempt to retaliate, to disable the attacking computer systems, is not only illegal but carries stiff penalties. We call it restraint of trade if the counter attack crosses state or international boundaries. I call it stupid, antiquated, and wrong headed in today’s globalized economy. Here, now, today, I refuse to continue penalizing people who play by the rules. Our law enforcement structures make it impossible to find and prosecute the cyber crime that dwarfs any attempt at reporting and identification.”
“Last night, my former ambassador to China made a proposal I find quite compelling. In addition, the Democratic leadership in the Senate also finds the argument persuasive. Because of current international volatility, I am sending a bill to Congress for immediate action. The sponsor, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, is ideally suited to shepherd the bill, since he sits on the Judiciary Committee, and since the mechanics of his elegant solution will be implemented by the United States Marshals’ organization under the aegis of the Justice Department.
“First, some background. We do not, indeed we cannot, condone vigilantism in America. While the right to protect yourself from imminent death or injury is fundamental to our law, the minute you aggressively go out to retaliate against a threat or an attempted intrusion, you are breaking the law. Yet our law enforcement organizations are woefully unequipped to enforce the law on your behalf. This is reminiscent of the sorry state of our Continental Army in the Revolutionary War.”
“Our country found itself outgunned, outnumbered, out financed and just about out of rope,” continued the president. “Letters of Marque were issued to bonded and licensed privateers who attacked British shipping. Privateer-generated proceeds virtually financed the entire Revolutionary War. In fact, privateers captured ten times the number of enemy ships as the Continental Navy. The numbers may surprise you. The Continental Navy operated 64 ships, while the privateers had 1,607. The Continental Navy had 1,242 guns; the privateers had almost 15,000. The Continental Navy captured fewer than 200 enemy ships; the privateers captured and, more importantly, monetized 2,283 ships. In my opinion, the profit motive can eclipse any forces this federal government could amass, and do so almost instantly.”
“Analogies aren’t perfect, and precedents require modification. I am not proposing that modern-day privateers prey upon foreign interests for profit. But consider deputizing cyber-marshals to engage in electronic hot pursuit and destruction of hostile cyber-forces anywhere in the world. These United States Cyber Deputies would work under contract for the United States Marshal organization and under the supervision of the Department of Justice. They would be bonded but for the most part simply turned loose on our enemies. Their rules of engagement will be a work in progress, and I do not want the lack of specificity in these rules or their definition to delay this legislation. Indeed, time is of the essence.”
“The most relevant legal doctrine of national sovereignty is a 1823 statement called The Monroe Doctrine. It stated that, and I quote, any attempt by European governments to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas would be viewed by the United States of America as acts of aggression requiring US intervention, unquote. I will therefore explain a new doctrine of digital sovereignty appropriate for this day and age.
“Any attack or attempted attack by individuals or governments on American public or private computer systems will be viewed as acts of aggression requiring immediate intervention. Period. I am implementing this via executive order today.
“Are there legal ambiguities? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Senator Hatch gave me an excellent tutorial, which I’ve validated with legal experts in my own party. International law governing hot pursuit generally deals with oceanic chase. The legality U.S. actually pursuing Pancho Villa across sovereign borders into Mexico and Israeli capture of Adolf Eichman in Argentina is hotly debated. But notwithstanding these issues, technology and globalization of the world economy demand we take a firm stand. But our stand must be clearly articulated and based upon the rule of law.”
The president paused for effect, then continued: “Therefore, any individuals or corporations who unilaterally take it upon themselves to retaliate against attacks on their computer infrastructures are in violation of law and will be prosecuted to the full extent of current cyber crime law. Thank you and goodnight.”
Later in Daddy's Little Felons, I hyperlink to The Cyber Privateer Code of Conduct (see it here), which eliminates legal ambiguity and puts into place a tightly thought-out doctrine. The question now, Mister President, is how do you want to project American power? By dancing from foot to foot about NSA spying while Snowden gives you the raspberry from Moscow, or by letting the U.S. beacon of light shine on all the cockroaches?

Mister President, if you can't afford the $2.99 for a copy of Daddy's Little Felons, let me know when and where to send you a complimentary copy.

Sincerely yours,
Rick Bennett


  1. Hello Mr Bennett

    + Appears to be an Entrepreneur has clashed with one General:

    August 1, 2013,
    " Why this entrepreneur-hacker cussed-out the NSA director "

    __Entrepreneur Jon McCoy yelled, “B------t!” at the director of the National Security Agency, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, a keynote speaker at the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas.

    + My knowledge of English is minimal and i not know the "players" but it is clear that is bad, very bad, and getting worse.


  2. It took real guts for General Alexander to go to this Black Hat conference, because his ice cold reception was inevitable. Too bad he couldn't enlist the Black Hats and White Hats to apply for congressionally-issued Letters of Marque and Reprisal.


Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?