Yesterday, I attended a briefing on Worldwide Threats conveined by the House Subcommittee on Intelligence. The speakers or "witnesses" were James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence; David Petraeus, CIA Director; Ronald Burgess, Defense Intelligence Agency; and Robert Mueller, FBI Director. In short, these men represent the most well-qualified group of individuals to talk about the threats this country faces.
The one they brought up that surprised me the most came from an emerging field: cyberspace. Indeed, cyber terrorism/espionage is a very real threat - to the tune of what Clapper called "hundreds of billions of dollars" being lost to China. Because it's invisible, the threat is especially fearful. It shouldn't be suprising, then, that both the committee and witnesses agreed a major cyber attach is on its way. In addition, both China and Russia are stealing valuable research materials from labs and unviersities every day and usint it to their advantage.
In the face of this threat, the United States is reactive instead of proactive; our cyber security is just a few steps behind the hackers. With 30 bills currently in discussion on this issue, Congress needs to figure out a way to meet the challenges the very real threat poses. I can't think of a better issue for those on the left and right to come together on (indeed, this committee has come up with a great deal of bipartisan legislation). Action needs to be taken immediately; this is something we can't afford to wait on.
Director Clapper's full, unclassified statement for the record can be found here.