Those pursuing expanded funding of cyberdefense, more predatory and invasive technical and legislative protocols in the last two weeks were always adding they wanted to have a debate, to expand public discourse on the matter. This is not what they meant at all. What they really wanted, and what they got and always get, was a free ride to publicizing, with approval, whatever claims they had to push their arguments. And they did indeed get everything they wanted in that respect. Paradoxically, Cybersecurity 2012 failed.
And it wasn't because of any criticism but rather the politics of our time: The Republican party's unrelenting opposition to anything pushed by the Obama administration.
Readers know how effortlessly the very important national security experts and policy makers massage newspapers, television and the Internet in the run ups to getting things they want.
There is always dissent but it's been eliminated from the American mainstream, relegated to "[a] handful of media stories, blog posts and academic studies," as ProPublica put it in a piece destroying the ridiculously exaggerated statistics on losses due to cybercrime earlier in the week.
The lobbying effort to get Cybersecurity 2012 passed was massive. And still it went down to defeat. Apparatchik Ashton Carter and someone else from the Department of Homeland Security placed one bit, earlier in the week, in the New York Times: It was representative of the entire big push on the matter:
OVER the last decade, the United States has built a sophisticated security system to protect the nation's seaports against terrorists and criminals. But our nation's critical infrastructure is not similarly secured from cyberattack. Although we have made progress in recent years, Congressional action is needed to ensure that our laws keep pace with the electronically connected world we live in. The bipartisan Cybersecurity Act of 2012, currently before the Senate, offers a way forward.
A disruption of our electric grid or other critical infrastructure could temporarily cripple the American economy. What's less well known is that such an attack could threaten the nation's defense as well ...
This legislation is a critical step for defending America's infrastructure against the clear and present cyberthreats we face.
That opinion piece by Carter, a relatively undistinguished career government appointee who has been around since the Clinton administration, was -- like every bit on Cybersecurity 2012 before it's defeat -- a one-factor riff, a simple prediction of big trouble if they didn't get what they thought was appropriate.
The country's cyberdefenses needed strengthening because a cyberattack will turn off the power, cripple the economy, take down the national military, do something to the water, and result in 'the greatest transfer of wealth in history."
"[Warning] of a digital Pearl Harbor are becoming almost routine," reported ProPublica, noting the public signs of the effort..
While the lobbying and legislation didn't lose because any sophisticated argument took it down in Congress, that it did lose, at least for the rest of this year, was kind of accidentally encouraging. Those pushing Cybersecurity 2012 overdid it with their intelligence-insulting crap about economic collapse, the future lost to cyber-thievery and 9/11-like disaster. And for that they richly deserved frustration -- by any means.