Saturday, October 13, 2012

Benghazi Burns and Petraeus Goes to Princeton?

Bee's note:  Libya is "Obama's War".  He chose it, built it, and will cover-up for it, and so will his entire administration!  I remember years ago, when another President lied and attempted to cover up for his lack of judgment.  The Nixon hearings were an open book, broadcast on TV daily, until we watched him wave goodbye, standing on the platform of Air Force One.  This week, the same type of hearings are taking place in Washington, DC.  My guess is, when members of this Obama administration begin opening up and pointing fingers, eventually America would get to the bottom of who lied and why! ... But, since elections take place in 4 weeks, this, too, will be pushed to the side and no one in Washington will be held responsible for the horrific terrorist acts that murdered our Ambassador and three others in Libya.  How sad!




Written by: Diana West 
Friday, October 12, 2012 12:52 AM

David Petraeus accepting the James Madison Medal at Princeton, 2010

Two weeks ago, I wondered whether CIA Director Petraeus was politicizing the intelligence after a source told Fox News  on September 27 that three days after the Benghazi assault, Petraeus briefed the House Intelligence Committee that "Benghazi was an out-of-control demonstration prompted by the YouTube video.According to the source, this was `shocking' to some members who were present and saw the same intelligence pointing toward a terrorist attack."   

Knowing Petraeus' sensitivities to the faux-stimulus of what he has called in Senate testimony "Arab anger,"  such politicization, or, perhaps better, such Arabizing of the intelligence would likely come naturally to him. No stranger to politicking, Petraeus as CENTCOM commander engaged in what was described as an"unprecedented" political push in early 2010 on behalf of Islam's Israel-centered demonology in order to enhance Americas's military standing in Iraq and Afghanistan. This dovetailed neatly with his perhaps surprising take on Gitmo -- close it, its "existence has been used by the enemy against us" --  and his reallyshocking take on Hezbollah: “Hezbollah’s justifications for existence will become void,” Petraeus told the Al Hayat as reported in the Lebanese Daily Star, “if the Palestinian cause is resolved.” Given this Arabist sensibility (and don't forget one of his thesis directors at Princeton was Stephen Walt of Walt & Mearsheimer), it's no stretch to imagine the man taking up cry of Islamic video-rage as well.  

Now, with so many of the adminstration's bald lies about Benghazi being exposed,PJ Tatler's Bryan Preston is asking not whether Petraeus was politicizing the intell, but whether he is "among the sources of the Benghazi deception."

In a post called "You Know Who Still Hasn't Called Benghazi a Terrorist Attack?" Preston reprises some of Petraeus' appeasement of Koran Rage back in Afghanistan. Preston also notes that several senators sent a letter on October 9 to Petraeus, DNI Clapper and White House CT advisor John Brennan asking for a specific timeline on the Benghazi intelligence They haven't received an answer.

Which isn't to say Petraeus hasn't been busy of late. Two weeks ago (September 27), the Daily Princetonian published a story suggesting that the CIA director was interested in becoming president of Princeton -- this after the current president anounced her retirement on the weekend of September 23. Petraeus' response as reported by the college paper?

I think I’ve made my respect and admiration for the great faculty and student body of Princeton University very clear, and I will reiterate that now,” Petraeus said in the statement. “As it currently stands, however, I am living the dream here at CIA.”

You don't need a CIA decoder ring to read that as he wants it. Further, with Benghazi's Big Lies crashing around him, I would even interpret the strangely jarring phrase "living the dream here at the CIA" as: Get me out of hereBut I wonder how Benghazi-gate will look on his resume? 

Obama Doesn’t Have A Big Enough Bus

Posted on  by Zilla 

I wonder if Hillary Clinton ever wishes that she had simply stayed in New York and remained in the Senate rather than join up with Team Fail-n-Flail which has now tainted her with the scandal of Barry’s deadly Dilbertesque foreign policy bungle in Libya. She was quite popular here and she could have built up even more political capital and goodwill on the job, and she could have amused herself in her off hours by playing and winning at Party Bingo from her lovely home in Chappaqua.
Whoever pressured Hillary Clinton to accept the position as Obama’s Secretary of State should be locked in a room with giggly idiot Joe Biden for a week as punishment because she has been made to do one dumb thing after another as cabinet member of the most incompetent administration in American history – from the goofy ‘reset’ button in Russia to the Benghazi Horror, it has just been one bag of FAIL after another and Hillary has had to be the public face of it. I bet she would like to have a real ‘reset’ button that could give her a ‘do over’ for early 2009! Had she remained in the Senate, Hillary would have been poised to take the Oval Office handily in 2016 or 2020 if she wanted it, because she was THAT popular and had been widely perceived as very competent and savvy. That isn’t quite the case any more, and team Obama-Biden is attempting to throw her under the Obama-Biden re-election campaign bus in a pitiful attempt to keep voters from seeing the murdered dead American blood that they’ve got all over their hands as a result of their complete and total failure to act in a responsible manner on the global stage. Now it is increasingly looking like there won’t be another Clinton White House unless if some day Chelsea decides to run and wins. Some Headlines:

Bee's Note:

Joe Biden’s Marxist Confession in the VP Debate (+ full video))

October 12, 2012, 1:11 pm By  

Attorney (self-prosecutor) that he is, The Joker summed it up at the end.
Well let me tell ya. My record stands for itself. I never say anything I don’t mean. Everybody knows, whatever I say, I do. And, uh, my whole life has been devoted to leveling the playing field for middle class people, giving them an even break.
He then spoke of people being given “a shot,” but I don’t think he was referring to The “Middle Class” Drinking Game.
So, per Biden, egalitarianism, that is, government dispensing enforced fairness, is the essence of his political philosophy. And so, he really is something of a communist, the essential slogan of which is:
Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!
in Karl Marx’ original German
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need!
Marx, from his Critique of the Gotha Program
Then he repeated his reference to draconian landscaping twice, in his closing comment. Maybe that was because the audience had been admonished not to gasp (slide on over to about 1:26:40).

Video, full vice presidential debate, YouTube
To level a playing field, one literally has to tear down all the high points and bury or uproot anything that is growing on the soil, all over the field. That is what was done in Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, North Korea, and Eastern Europe, last century. That was the massive theft, the denial of the Right to Property,along with the tens of millions of murders involved, the denial of the Right to Life, and the ensuing state slavery, the denial of the Right to Liberty. And the right of The People to be told the truth? Forget about it.
That leveling, by incremental degree is also fundamental to Fabianist socialism, Trotskyite democracy, and Gramsci’s and Alinsky’s doctrines of stealthy governmental and NGO power and hegemony. It is the core of the global Agenda 21 program being implemented in our neighborhoods, via these doctrines (a program implemented for the United States in part via Barack Obama’s Executive Orders and EPA policies, as well as having been testbed implemented in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, just as he testbed implemented the insurance and abortifacient mandates of RomneyCare/ObamaCare).
And now, as if according to a script, Heroine America is faced with the Marxist monster of Obama-Biden at re-election time, causing her to flee into the arms of proffered heroes, Romney-Ryan, for her rescue — each side having been financed by the central banker and crony system that has financed Agenda 21 and related means of global, kleptocratic authoritarianism. It all seems like the Marxist or Fascist Game constantly being played in Europe and South America, for those continents’ victimized voters.
Has anyone asked Mitt Romney, or Paul Ryan for that matter, about Agenda 21?
There is still time.
And as for Joe Biden, as this masterpiece by TheMouthPeace still shows and at his expense, we were warned about Obama-Biden’s intent upon structural Marxism before the last General Election. It is well worth a replay — the video that is, not the election.

Video, “The Biden Chronicles: Anatomy Of The Village Blowhard!

Nigel Farage Slams Nobel Peace Prize Farce As ‘Insurgency And Violence’ Reign

October 12, 2012


And there is a lot more ‘peace coming your way.
This cisis has only just begun

We noted earlier the somewhat surrealistic decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union (though entirely consistent it would seem given their previous ‘Obama’ decision) but now UKIP’s Nigel Faragehas weighed in with his ‘boots on the ground’ perspective of this farce. “You only have to open your eyes to see the increasing violence and division within the EU which is caused by the Euro project” he said, adding that “the awarding of this prize to the EU brings it into disrepute.” We suspect that reputation is already ‘diss’ed but analogizing the tragic imposition of a new flag on Yugoslavia, Farage concludes: “Rather than bring peace and harmony, the EU will cause insurgency and violence.” We can only assume that Bin Laden’s death forced the ‘Nobel’s to quick recount.
You only have to open your eyes to see the increasing violence and division within the EU which is caused by the Euro project” he said.
“Spain is on the verge of a bail-out, with senior military figures warning that the Army may have to intervene in Catalonia. In Greece people are starving and abandoning their children through desperate poverty and never a week goes by that we don’t see riots and protests in capital cities against the troika and the economic prison they have imposed.
“The next stage is to abandon the Nation state: the awarding of this prize to the EU brings it into disrepute.”
Mr Farage added, “The last attempt in Europe to impose a new flag, currency and nationality on separate states was called Yugoslavia. The EU is repeating the same tragic mistake.”
“Rather than bring peace and harmony, the EU will cause insurgency and violence.”
Perhaps, in addition, as a gentle reminder, GoJam of The Needle blog can provide some color on this surreal decision:
Congratulations to the EU for Winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
The decision, apparently was unanimous and to celebrate this momentus achievement I’ve put together a small picture gallery of peaceful Europe in 2012.

(BALI, Indonesia) - Ten Years after Suicide bombers killed 202 people

Decade After Attack, Tears for Dead, Hope for Bali

image An armed Indonesian policeman surveys the scene of a bomb blast in Kuta, on the resort island of Bali, Oct. 14, 2002.
An armed Indonesian policeman surveys the scene of a bomb blast in Kuta, on the resort island of Bali, Oct. 14, 2002. At least 183 people died in the Saturday night car bombing in a crowded night spot.

(BALI, Indonesia) — A decade after bombs ripped through two Bali nightclubs, Friday’s memorial was filled with reminders of what was lost in this tropical paradise, and what was not. Tears fell as victims’ names were read, but not far away, surfers paddled for world-class waves and vacationing shoppers lined busy sidewalks haggling for souvenirs.
Suicide bombers killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, when one blew himself up inside and another set off a car bomb at the popular Sari Club and Paddy’s Pub in Kuta that sultry Saturday night in 2002. But radicalism did not take over this moderate Muslim nation, and the visitors terrorists once scared away from the resort island have come flooding back.
Hotel rooms were hard to come by Friday, even as security alerts were raised to the highest level following a potential unspecific threat.
“There is peace in this island, and the knowledge that millions still come here for the same reasons you and your loved ones did,” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told victims’ loved ones at a memorial service. “And perhaps there is a grim reassurance in knowing that the terrorists did not achieve what they set out to do. They did not undermine Indonesian democracy, which has only grown stronger across the passage of a decade.”
Australia suffered more deaths in the attacks than any other country, with 88 of its citizens dead. Bali, with its lively nightlife and warm pristine waters, has long been a favorite getaway for Australians, and Gillard herself had returned home from a family holiday a day before the Oct. 12, 2002, attacks.
The Australian government paid for more than 600 survivors and victims’ family members to attend the ceremony. Some gathered for the memorial in shorts and T-shirts, fanning themselves in the blazing morning heat.
Danny Hanley, one of the speakers, lost two daughters in bombings: Renee died immediately and Simone became the last victim after 58 days in a Perth burn unit. “When I hear of the 88 Australians that died, I always shed a tear that my beautiful daughter, Simone, was number 88,” he said.
Many attending the memorial in Jimbaran walked past photos of the victims, posted on large black boards; some stopped to touch the faces of those they knew. Others sat in white chairs with their heads bowed as they listened to the speeches encouraging remembrance and healing. Meanwhile, others laid flowers and paused to hug at the bombing site in Kuta known as “ground zero.”
Remembrances were also held across Australia to mark the anniversary. In the capital, Canberra, dignitaries and family members of those killed gathered at Parliament House to mourn.
The attack, carried out by suicide bombers from the al-Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah, started a wave of violence in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, hitting an embassy, hotels and restaurants. Three years later, another bomb attack killed 20 people.
Many visitors later shied away from the popular Hindu-dominated island, which survives on tourist dollars. Hotel occupancy plummeted 80 percent a year after the attacks, and foreign tourist arrivals fell by 70 percent. It was hit so hard the Indonesian government encouraged locals to visit Bali instead of traveling abroad.
The 2002 attacks were “like a tsunami disaster for us here,” said Wayan Gota, a handicraft trader in Bali. “The attack not only killed hundreds of people, but also destroyed every sector of our lives and led to prolonged economic difficulties. … It took several years for us to recover from the paralysis.”
Other Balinese suffer still more intensely from the attacks, which killed 38 Indonesians and injured many more.
Tumini, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, was a bartender getting ready to serve her first customer that night at Paddy’s Pub. She was thrown outside the bar and knocked unconscious. The only thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital with burns covering her face and body.
Today, the mother of three still struggles to understand why she survived when so many others died. She was forced to find lower-paying work and cannot afford the medical care she needs.
“I feel my life is still miserable. I am not 100 percent normal,” she said. “I often think and ask why God still allows me to live if I have to endure this pain.”
Most of Indonesia’s 210 million Muslims practice a moderate style of Islam that condemns violence, and the government has worked to root out militants, arresting more than 700 of them since the bombings and killing dozens more. Terrorist attacks aimed at foreigners have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes mostly targeting police and anti-terrorism forces.
“Instead of spreading the seeds of hatred, that heinous attack has prompted governments and peoples of different backgrounds, of different nationalities and religions, to reach out to one another,” said Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa. “To stand united.”
Tourism, meanwhile, has bounced back. More than 1.8 million foreigners arrived in Bali prior to the attacks, and last year 2.7 million came to the island where Julia Roberts filmed part of the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.”
“It was a big thing for Australia because this is … like our second home to come to. It was pretty devastating but you know, it happens all over the world,” Mitch O’Brian said while enjoying a holiday in Bali. “I’m not afraid to come here because it’s a great place.”
Security was tight at Friday’s memorial with more than 2,000 police and military deployed, including snipers. Two days earlier, police said they had received information about a potential terrorist threat. Bali deputy police chief Brig. Gen. Ketut Untung Yoga Ana said new intelligence indicates the threat may have weakened, but he added that security forces would remain vigilant and continue to closely monitor movement in and out of the island.
Last month police arrested 10 Islamic militants and seized a dozen homemade bombs from a group suspected of planning suicide attacks, but to Bali hotel operator Gde Wiratha, that was in part a sign that the threat remains.
“Bali was very safe before the bombing … but now no one knows,” he said. “I, myself, still have fears that radical groups like Jemaah Islamiyah are still far from being defeated.”
Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia contributed to this report.
Read more:

Biden, Obama and the politics of personal destruction


October 12, 2012, 4:32 AM
Thursday the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger published a column called "Obama and the L-word." In it he described with disgust and dismay the way the Obama administration has been playing fast and loose with the term "liar" to describe Mitt Romney since Romney trounced Obama in last week's presidential debate.

Henninger noted that the use of the term cheapens and coarsens the political discourse in the US in a manner that is unprecedented in US politics. He also noted rightly that this is not part of the American political tradition. It is of a piece with the propaganda of totalitarian regimes. 

As he explained: 

The Obama campaign's resurrection of "liar" as a political tool is odious because it has such a repellent pedigree. It dates to the sleazy world of fascist and totalitarian propaganda in the 1930s. It was part of the milieu of stooges, show trials and dupes. These were people willing to say anything to defeat their opposition. Denouncing people as liars was at the center of it. The idea was never to elevate political debate but to debauch it.
The purpose of calling someone a liar then was not merely to refute their ideas or arguments. It was to nullify them, to eliminate them from participation in politics. That's what is so unsettling about a David Axelrod or David Plouffe following accusations of dishonesty and lies with "whether that person should sit in the Oval Office." And that is followed by President Obama himself feeding the new line in stump speeches without himself ever using the L-word.
This Obama campaign is saying, "We don't want to compete with Mitt Romney. We want to obliterate him."

Henninger ended his column by wondering how the Obama campaign's post-presidential debate employment of this tactic against Romney would impact Biden's debate performance.
And last night we got the answer. Throughout the debate, Biden treated Rep. Paul Ryan with contempt. He never responded to any of Ryan's reasoned, substantive criticisms of Obama's policies. He simply called him a liar, repeatedly. With no justification. He sneered. He guffawed. And he maligned Ryan for 90 minutes. 

I watched the debate on Fox News. I suppose the commentators hadn't read Henninger's article. They were all expressing shock at Biden's nastiness. They didn't seem to recognize that it is part of the Obama campaign's strategy. 

Another aspect of this that both Henninger and the Fox commentators were too gentle to mention outright - although Henninger nearly did -- is that the politics of personal destruction are based on projection. The side doing it is accusing their opponents of doing precisely what they are doing. 

In last night's debate, Biden lied, flat out lied, repeatedly. He lied about what the military thinks of the sequestration policy of gutting military budgets. He lied about what the intelligence community said about the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. He lied about how Medicare is impacted by Obamacare. 

And that's just off the top of my head.

A word about those lies. At least in the case of the Benghazi lie, Biden's actions show how lies are part and parcel of how the Obama administration does its business on a daily basis.
The only basis for the claim that US intelligence said the attack on the consulate wasn't a terror attack but a response to that stupid, irrelevant anti-Islam film on YouTube was a statement by James Clapper, Obama's appointed Director of National Intelligence. 

It must be said, Clapper is not a credible source.

Clapper has abused his office repeatedly to politicize intelligence and facts in order to advance the appeasement-of-Islamic-terrorists agenda of the president he serves. 

This came across most brazenly during the uprising against longtime US ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. On Feb 10, 2011, the day before the Obama administration forced Hosni Mubarak to resign from the Egyptian presidency, Clapper appeared before the House Select Committee on Intelligence and told the Congressmen that the Muslim Brotherhood is a "largely secular" movement.

In his words, "The term 'Muslim Brotherhood' is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam. They have pursued social ends, betterment of the political order in Egypt, etc."

This was a complete lie and anyone with even a modicum of awareness about the Brotherhood - even without the benefit of classified information - knows that it is a lie. He should have been fired for saying such nonsense because it isn't just wrong, it is dangerous, as we see today with the Muslim Brotherhood in charge in Egypt.

But this is par for the course for Obama appointees. And it shows the depths to which its officials will sink in order to push the President's agenda. 

Lies are not simply a campaigning tactic or strategy. They are the heart of how this administration does business.

Steven Hayes on Fox made the important point that in the space of just a couple of minutes Biden said US intelligence misled the administration on Libya and could be totally trusted to get Iran's nuclear capabilities just right. 

Do you feel safe with that assessment?

I was dismayed that Ryan didn't just come out and attack Biden for doing what he was doing. But he was in a tight spot. Martha Raddatz, the moderator was there playing interference for Biden the whole time. Every time Ryan started making a point, she'd interrupt him and change the subject. 

Aside from that I felt the age disparity worked in Biden's favor because Ryan was obviously  trying to be deferential to his elder who clearly did not deserve any deference from him. Ryan was playing by the old rule book, treating his opponent with respect. Biden was playing by the Obama rulebook and treated his opponent with contempt as a means of destroying him personally.

Commentators all say that Ryan held his own. And that's true and good for him, as far as that goes. But that isn't the point. 

The point is that Romney has been warned by Biden and the campaign. He needs to stay on offense. And that doesn't just mean to defend his positions or call Obama on the failure of his policies. It means he needs to confront Obama on what he is doing in his campaign and refuse to pretend that this is business as usual. 

The ugliness we saw last night is just a foretaste of what will come in the next three weeks and Romney better be ready. Because if he isn't, the ugliness he will need to deal with in the next three weeks will be nothing in comparison to the ugliness that will become America in a second Obama administration. 

State Department Had No $$$ for Consulate Security, But it Did Have $$$ For…

October 12, 2012

The last, generally disavowed, excuse is that the Benghazi consulate lacked proper security because of budget cuts. This has already been disproven, but let’s take that excuse at face value.
The State Department has a 50 billion dollar budget. Within that 50 billion dollar budget there was no money for reasonable consulate security in a city rife with Islamist militias who had already attacked the consulate and other diplomats in the city. But here’s what there was money for…
The 770 million dollar Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund for the Arab Spring.
7.9 billion dollars for Obama’s Global Health Initiative.
2.9 billion for international debt relief.
2.2 billion to strengthen democratic institutions in Pakistan.
469 million for global climate change.
587 million for student exchange programs.
And of course there is the always popular Mosque renovation program reported on by Front Page earlier.
In 2010, the State Department provided monetary support for saving three mosques on Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania, mosques which included the 900-year-old Kizimkazi mosque, considered one of the oldest Islamic buildings on the coast of East Africa.
That generous American donation was repaid in July 2012 when Muslim mobs, shouting, “Away with the church — we do not want infidels to spoil our community, especially our children,” burned down three Christian churches on Zanzibar Island.
In 2011 the State Department provided funds to restore the 15th century Gobarau Minaret in Katsina State in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north, an area which has become a virtual killing field for Christians at the hands of Muslim militants, led by the al-Qaeda-linked terror group Boko Haram.
Since 2009 over 288 Christian churches in Nigeria have been burned, thousands of Christian-owned homes destroyed, and over 2,000 Christians killed, including in July 2012 when fifty members of a northern Nigerian church were burned to death in their pastor’s house.
The State Department had billions for the Muslim Brotherhood and Pakistan, for the people killing us, but it supposedly did not have the money to defend against them.
Is it any wonder that with all the useful things the State Department does, it just couldn’t figure out how to budget consulate security too?

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.

Panetta: Cyber terrorism on US critical infrastructure

Bee's note: "Panetta’s speech came as the Obama administration is pressing ahead with its own cyber security measures using executive powers after reaching a stalemate with congressional Republicans and their business allies over sweeping legislation to change the nation’s cybersecurity posture." ... 

Correct!  And it is true that the Republicans had good reason to fight against Obama's push to gain more cyber security measures - which would add to Homeland Security's "List" of bloggers and links they monitor (like they needed another list!).  Strange, that just four weeks before the Elections - November 6th - that blasted over the airwaves/media, we hear of Panetta's "warnings" of cyber attacks.  

I read an article a few years back of our federal government's lack of updated computer programs - have no idea if there have been updates recently, but these were issues that should have been taken immediately after 9/11.  That was the purpose of creating the "new" department of Homeland Security - to gather information and share among our federal organizations.  How far from that "Mission" this department has fallen is anyone's guess.

However, forgive me for being suspicious about a warning that would give Obama an opportunity to sign yet another Executive Order so close to November 6th - an Order that would have the capability to silence those who disagree with his agenda.  

You might like to read the following: 

President Obama May Get Power to Shut Down Internet Without Any Court oversight

October 12, 2012

Editor’s Note – Dangers lurk all around us, from terror attacks on our embassy in Libya to plots to kill a Saudi on US soil, and our critical infrastructure may be our Achille’s Heel.

Panetta says cyber attackers accessed controls for critical US infrastructure

Defense secretary bluntly warns were in ‘pre-9-11 moment’ that could precede catastrophic attack, hints Iran involved
By John Solomon – Washington Guardian
In a blunt admission designed to prod action, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Thursday night told business executives there has been a sudden escalation of cyber terrorism and that attackers have managed to gain access to control systems for critical infrastructure.
In a speech in New York City, Panetta said the recent activities have raised concerns inside the U.S. intelligence community that cyber terrorism might be combined with other attacks to create massive panic and destruction on par with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“These attacks mark a significant escalation of the cyber threat.  And they have renewed concerns about still more destructive scenarios that could unfold,” he said. “For example, we know that foreign cyber actors are probing America’s critical infrastructure networks.
“They are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants, and those that guide transportation throughout the country,” he added. “We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully gained access to these control systems.  We also know they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic, destruction, and even the loss of life.”
Current and former U.S. officials tell the Washington Guardian that U.S. investigators have growing evidence that Iran was behind a recent wave of cyber attacks, particularly those that temporarily paralyzed energy interests in two Middle East countries that are key U.S. allies.
Panetta stopped short in his speech of formally accusing Iran but left no doubt America has strong suspicions about Tehran. “Iran has also undertaken a concerted effort to use cyberspace to its advantage,” he declared.
Panetta’s speech came as the Obama administration is pressing ahead with its own cyber security measures using executive powers after reaching a stalemate with congressional Republicans and their business allies over sweeping legislation to change the nation’s cybersecurity posture.
“This is a pre-9/11 moment,” Panetta told the business executives, referring to the period before the terror attacks 11 years ago when signs of a mounting threat were overlooked. “The attackers are plotting. Our systems will never be impenetrable, just like our physical defenses are not perfect. But more can be done to improve them.  We need Congress, and we need all of you, to help in that effort.”
Panetta, who has been sounding alarm for month about the potential for a “Cyber Pearl Habor”, gave unusually blunt description of three recent attacks — one against U.S. financial interests and two against Middle East energy interests – that have raised the alarm. Defense officials said classified information was declassified so Panetta could give specific details about the nature of the attacks.
The defense secretary, who previously served as President Obama’s CIA director, said consecutive attacks on Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO oil company and Qatar’s Ras Gas known launched by a virus known as Shamoon were “probably the most
destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date. “
“Shamoon included a routine called a ‘wiper,’ coded to self-execute.  This routine replaced crucial system files with an image of a burning U.S. flag.  It also put additional “garbage” data that overwrote all the real data on the machine.  The more than 30,000 computers it infected were rendered useless, and had to be replaced,” Panetta explained.
The defense secretary offered an assessment of possible future doomsday scenarios feared by U.S. intelligence in which cyber terrorism could be combined with waves of attacks.
“An aggressor nation or extremist group could gain control of critical switches and derail passenger trains, or trains loaded with lethal chemicals.  They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.,” he said.
“The most destructive scenarios involve cyber actors launching several attacks on our critical infrastructure at once, in combination with a physical attack on our country,” he added. “Attackers could also seek to disable or degrade critical military systems and communications networks.”