December 03, 2012
Credit: Credit: Bill Sweetman/AWST
David Fulghum Washington
Reporters and activists have unearthed many military secrets, and some have been disclosed officially over time. But what military secrets have remained secret?
Who wrote the Stuxnet and Flame malware that delayed Iran's nuclear enrichment program? It is unofficially acknowledged that it was U.S. intelligence and money, combined with Israeli brains and laws.
How did someone—it's not hard to guess who—bomb Syrian and Sudanese weapons facilities and leave barely a fingerprint behind? Doubtless it was the Israelis, showing what you can do with non-stealthy aircraft, new weapons, advanced electronics, first-rate training, standoff sensors and airborne command and control.
Did the Iranians shoot down an RQ-170 in November 2011? No, it crashed without outside assistance and was put on display largely intact by the Iranians. U.S. Air Force acquisition officials say that would not have happened if they had run the program, instead of Lockheed Martin's special projects operation. They say safety precautions and self-destruct capabilities were sloppy or missing.
Where are all the Russian weapons that scared everyone during the Cold War? Since the Soviet Union broke up, nobody knows for sure, not even the Russians. Can we see missile-carrying submarines under the water? Sometimes water turbulence can be detected by aircraft or even satellite sensors, so in theory, yes.
Can the military and national intelligence agencies, even your corporate bosses, read your innermost thoughts? Yes, but only if you are dumb enough to email them or write them somewhere on the Internet.
Is there any way to protect yourself from cyberexploitation? Maybe, with some good offensive tools. But the government has spent years not making decisions on how to prepare for offensive cyberoperations. (Lawmakers apparently have been too busy reading other people's email.) The White House is once again leading the charge to make a little progress in codifying cyber-rules, weapons, targets and jurisdictions. Congress stalls legislation, citing privacy concerns. A citizen might well question what privacy is left if the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and the full-court cyberhacker team from around the world are picking through his or her files.