“I think that we have to treat state-based covert activities as the equivalent of acts of war. And I think that we have to respond to that and create a level of pain which teaches people not to do it.” US presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, responding to a question about countries that target U.S. corporate and government information systems.

32 Responses to “Newt threatens Russia, China with cyberwar”

  1. Cowicide says:

    By the way, these are the words of a man who was abused as a child by his parents and has never properly coped with it.  This manboy will make Bush look like an angel.

    • Gideon Jones says:

      What, you mean marrying your HS math teacher isn’t adequately coping with your childhood abuse?  

    • Guest says:

      Honestly, that makes him make so much more sense. 

    • social_maladroit says:

      these are the words of a man who was abused as a child by his parents and has never properly coped with it

      And you know this…how?

      Regardless of whether or not that’s true, your statement draws, or at least strongly implies, a conclusion from premises that don’t support that conclusion. People who were abused as a child, whether or not they “coped with it,” do not necessarily grow up to be conservative Republican warmongers.

      (BTW, I detest Gingrich. But if you’re going to convince people not to vote for him, you’re going to have to do better than that.)

      • Cowicide says:

        And you know this…how?

        I’ve met and personally spoken with his sister. But, that’s anecdotal, so don’t take my word on it… Newt’s mother and father have admitted Newt was abused in interviews before they died.

        People who were abused as a child, whether or not they “coped with it,” do not necessarily grow up to be conservative Republican warmongers.

        Not necessarily, but many who do not cope with it do. In other words, a large majority of neoconservatives are victims of “tough love” at best and child abuse at worst. There’s a great book on this topic that studies this phenomena in depth:

        Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party.

        Here’s an interview with the author, Max Blumenthal, on the topic:
        http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/4/republican_gomorrah_inside_the_movement_that

        None of this means just because someone was an abused child, they’re guaranteed to become a neoconservative (nor any other loathsome attribute). Many wonderful, healthy people overcome abuse and go on to be great people.

        But if you’re going to convince people not to vote for him, you’re going to have to do better than that

        I’d love for Newt to be the Republican nominee. Vote for Newt!

  2. Chuck says:

    Hmmm.  I’m getting a visual…

    Newt, sitting in his basement, clad in a tank top and boxers — maybe black socks — tapping away on his computer and engaging in counter-cyberwar against China and Russia.

    At least the image seems feasible.

  3. Brother Phil says:

    Does this mean he thinks that the CIA’s drone attacks should be subject to congressional approval?

  4. Chicago_SC says:

    Yeah lets “cyberwar” with the folks that put together much of the electronics and computers we use.  Maybe we should fix that first.

    ATTACK THEM!!

    But sir, they manufacture our weapons and ammo.

    ATTACK THEM ANYWAY!!!

    Sir the missile it’s turning back this way!!!

  5. Does everybody in the US get a copy of LOIC to run?

  6. Gibletparade says:

    Before cyberattacking them he should challenge them to a vodka-based drinking game and a round or two of who-can-eat-the-most-rice first.

  7. Wait, I know where this is going. He’s gonna declare war on Anonymous. And, they uhm, live in Anonymistan, off the coast of Anonymous sea, is where he’s gonna send those fleet carriers. And then The great dictator of anonymistan will be darn sorry. And they’ll send in ground troops to fight the Anonymiban, who grow puppy script kiddies. Or something.

  8. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    And Newt threatens the US with his presidency.

  9. Mister44 says:

    UH – the cyberwar has already begun. China and Russia are both trying to learn about and exploit our weaknesses. We better get our shit together in that respect. I am not saying to declare war on China for deleting the pron folder from the oval office computer – but we need both defense and to be able to counter assault their actions.

  10. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    1 – Christ what an asshole

    2 – The fact he can say these things with a straight face should worry the hell out of everyone.

    3 – New plan, maybe just maybe ponder taking all of those critical systems off the interwebs?  If there is no target there is no damage.

  11. lavardera says:

    Great, yet another GOP politician prepared to get us into a war over matters he does not understand and only sees through the filter of his own ideology.

  12. Chris Murphy says:

    I’m no fan of Newt, but is it really that crazy to say that we should strike back against foreign attempts to disrupt our IT infrastructure and steal from US businesses?  I’m not talking about MP3′s here, I’m talking about coordinated attacks by Chinese-state sponsored hackers against IBM and the like.  Showing some strength in that area might not be the worst thing in the world.

    • echolocate chocolate says:

      How about we fix our infrastructure to be more robust and less easy to attack, which might actually be an investment, instead of pissing billions of dollars down the drain on another War on Cyberterrorism? “Strike back” against what? How?

  13. Melinda9 says:

    Will programmers be drafted into the new Cyber Army?
    ‘Okay, men, go do that computer-y thing you do.’

    • Another Kevin says:

      Estonia has done it – the Cyber Defense League there is a military unit made up partially of conscripted computer security people.  It’s been seriously considered for the US as well, so don’t rule it out!

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Will programmers be drafted into the new Cyber Army?

      That’s a good question. DADT saw a lot of technical experts flung out of the service. Newt might simultaneously start a war and expel our own best combatants. Because, face it, it’s not about winning; it’s about how you play the game.

  14. I don’t necessarily agree that we need to respond to cyberattacks with real bomb-and-bullet attacks, but I don’t have any problem with threatening to do so.

  15. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Is the problem that he thinks that we should do it or that he thinks that we can do it and win?

  16. David Spira says:

    Good idea Newt. That kind of policy would have ended the world during the Cold War.

    • Mister44 says:

      How so?

      Difficulty Level: War Games was a movie.

    • MythicalMe says:

      And yet Ronald Reagan made about the same declaration and during his term in office and the Soviet Union fell, ending the Cold War.

      Reagan wasn’t the cause, of course, but his posturing terrified the Iranians enough so that the day he took office the embassy hostages were released.

      Honestly, we were closer to nuclear annihilation during the Kennedy administration than at any other time during the Cold War.

      It’s still a long way to November and Obama hasn’t laced the gloves yet.

  17. Hmm… Last year, Stuxnet targeted SCADA control systems specifically designed to provide highly accurate control over motor controllers used for, among other things, uranium enrichment centrifuges. It was extremely complex, highly targeted, and used several previously unseen zero-day exploits that required either some serious know-how to identify or a lot of money to buy, or both.

    Funny thing – many of the targeted systems turned out to be in Iran. Now, I wonder who might have chosen to undertake such activity?

    That’s the part that bothers me about these political contests – candidates criticizing the administration for “not doing enough about Iran” while rattling the saber about cyberwarfare by China/Russia during the primaries is political chest-thumping at best. These candidates are armchair quarterbacks making wild assertions about “what they would do” on national security issues without the benefit of any real information or insight into the situation or the actions their own military may or may not have undertaken.

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