FROM John Arquilla
Russia, China, and cyber security The White House sanctions Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. Why now? The move comes after Britain escalates its fight with the Kremlin over the suspected poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter on U.K. soil. Meanwhile, some experts argue China is better than Russia at infiltrating U.S. intelligence. How extensive is China’s spying network?
Iran, Stuxnet and International Diplomacy The US and Israel now say Iran is not as far along in developing nuclear technology as they thought just a few months ago. Hillary Rodham Clinton says that's due to international sanctions. The outgoing chief of Israeli intelligence cites what he calls " technical setbacks ." The New York Times is more specific, pointing to the Stuxnet computer virus, tested at Israel's Dimona nuclear complex with assistance from the United States. Segment image: Iran begins to fuel its first nuclear power station on August 21, 2010 in Bushehr. Photo: IIPA via Getty Images
Iran, Stuxnet and International Diplomacy US and Israeli estimates of Iran's nuclear timetable are less alarming than they were just months ago. Hillary Rodham Clinton says that's due to international sanctions. The outgoing chief of Israeli intelligence cites what he calls " technical setbacks ." The New York Times reports it's the result of Stuxnet, tested at Israel's Dimona nuclear complex with assistance from the United States. That computer virus reportedly caused Iranian centrifuges to spin out of control while convincing operators all was well. It's also capable of disrupting electrical power grids, air traffic control systems or military networks, including those of its own developers. How vulnerable is the US? What will Stuxnet mean for diplomacy, including upcoming talks about Iran's nuclear program?
Afghanistan Elections and Rethinking the War Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has canceled plans to attend this week's UN General Assembly so he can stay home and watch over the process of counting votes from Saturday's parliamentary elections. The elections have been all but ignored in this country, but they've raised some familiar questions about the US and Afghanistan. Violence and intimidation kept turnout low, and massive fraud will taint whatever results are finally announced. What do Afghans think now of democracy? Is there any way to check the corruption of the Karzai regime, which reportedly undermines America's basic strategy and makes the Taliban stronger? Should the US change its political focus from the central government to local leaders, abandon counterinsurgency and get by with fewer troops?
Another 'Czar' at the Obama White House Cyber crime is a real threat to the economy. Railroads, air traffic control and electric utilities are already the targets of “Weapons of Mass Disruption.” That was the President's message today as he created a new job to make up for a dismal lack of national preparation. The Cyber-security Coordinator will be on both the economic and national security councils with access to the President, but critics insist that won't work. We hear how serious the problem is and ask if creating the new “Czar” will be more than a symbolic gesture.
Cyber-warfare and Weapons of Mass Annoyance Credit-card theft, bank fraud and electronic spying are cheaper and easier because of the Internet. There's evidence that China and Russia have hacked into defense contractors and even the Pentagon. Barack Obama is being urged to create a Center for Cyber Security Operations to be overseen by a special White House advisor.
War and Security in Cyber-space Attacks on the Internet may not produce blood and gore, but they do pose genuine threats to national security and the economy. Credit card theft, bank fraud and other electronic crimes are on the rise. There's evidence that China and Russia have hacked into defense contractors and even the Pentagon. Advisors to the Obama transition team are among those recommending a Center for Cyber-security Operations to be overseen by a special White House advisor. When would a cyber-attack be an act of war? Should intelligence agencies, law enforcement or the military take charge? What about individual privacy?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.