The greatest security threats to the United States are not from nuclear weapons but from cyber space and domestic terrorism. The Russian interference in the 2016 elections through email hacking and domestic terrorism by white nationalists in Charlottesville, VA are manifestations of the real threats to our security and the union.
Excerpts from my book, The Beltway Beast, published in 2014
While Washington continues to fight its previous, ongoing wars, the real threats of the 21st century will not be meeting us at the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Our greatest threats will come from cyberspace and domestic terrorism, not the ones we currently attribute to the Muslims, but the ones that we have not even started thinking about.
“Cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. In short, America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cyber security,” President Obama said on May 29, 2009. The inescapable fact is that modern man has entered a new frontier, the world of virtual reality, where billions have 24/7 access to much of that is happening on the planet. The cyber world creates equilibrium among strong and weak nations, rogue elements, and non-state actors around the globe. Everyone with an Internet connection is on equal footing in terms of access—and can use it for either the benefit or detriment of humanity. At some point, the Pentagon will have to stop gazing at the rearview mirror and start looking into the 21st century, where the real world is now firmly planted.
The cyber threat has two facets to it. One involves different countries; the other, individuals or small groups. In 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden alleged that the U.S. has been conducting cyber-attacks against China just as China has been doing to us. This is the new frontier of war among nations or non-nation groups that has no boundaries or code.
The disgruntled, the disgusted, the troubled, the narcissistic—from Snowden to Private First Class Bradley Manning—potentially can hack into any private or public network and wrest the controls from the administrator or disseminate classified information to which they are privy. Private First Class Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning, was a U.S. Army soldier who leaked the classified documents regarding the Iraq war to the public. There will always be individuals among us who oppose government and corporate policies. Given the opportunity, some will use cyberspace to shake the powers-that-be and society. Thus, terrorism will be assigned completely different definitions—much of it will be domestic in origin.
21st Century Domestic Terrorism
One of the major threats to our national security is our own ticking demographic reality. The face of this country will change in 30 years, when—for the first time in America’s history—no single ethnic group will comprise a majority. Some people from the current majority or from rising minorities will undoubtedly feel this is no longer the country they once knew. They will lament that it has been wrested from their control and taken over by others—whoever those “others” might be. Timothy McVeigh was one of those Americans angry at our government. They will say that America, the grand experiment in self-government, has ceased to meet their expectations and needs.
For these and other reasons, some individuals and groups may resort to violence. They may even want to leave the Union, as evidenced by the secession petitions filed in Alabama, Florida, Colorado, and other states. Texas Governor Rick Perry has shown sympathy for the idea of secession. So have many others in the Lone Star State, which once was an independent republic, in the early 19th century.”
We must unite the United States to continue the greatest human experience in recent history where America is welcoming to everybody from around the world and is seen as a beacon of hope and freedom.