Frequently, the most important news items are not those that make the front page, but rather those details that are, when reported at all, relegated to the back pages. The November 22, 2011 Presidential Debate may be an example of this. The final question asked of the Republican presidential candidates that evening was posed by Mark Teese, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Unfortunately, there has been very little follow-up on this topic at the subsequent Presidential Debates.
Teese prefaced his November 22nd question by noting that in 2000, Candidate George W. Bush was never asked about al-Qaeda, but once he was in office that’s what dominated his presidency. Teese’s question to each of the candidates was:
What national security issue do you worry about that nobody is asking about, either here or in any of the debates so far?
The most mentioned topic by the candidates, three of them, was the threat of an electronic attack, also known as an E-attack. That is an attack on our country by turning our computers and other electronic devices into weapons against us rather than being the helpers we have come to rely on. Texas Governor Rick Perry specifically referred to China’s military capabilities in cyber warfare, which some experts believe is superior to ours. Former Federal Reserve banker Herman Cain used the term cyber attacks. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich mentioned two forms of attacks on our computer systems, an electromagnetic pulse attack that would attack our computers at the hardware level and a cyber attack.
An E-attack can take many forms. It can be in the form of planting malware in business or personal computers. It could be false signals to computer-controlled equipment thereby causing damage to the equipment itself or other equipment affected by it.
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