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Security United States Your Rights Online

Get Cyber-Mercenaries Suggests Ex NSA, CIA Director 135

siliconbits writes "One of the architects of US foreign policy under George W. Bush, General Michael Hayden, suggested that the US Government should consider creating a "Digital Blackwater" during a conversation at an event called the Aspen Security Forum. Blackwater was the US private military group founded in 1997 and which has been renamed as Xe Services LLC, a move possibly linked with a number of controversies that arose after the company expanded its security-related operations into Iraq and Afghanistan. Recruiting mercenaries, Hayden suggested 'might be one of those big new ideas in terms of how we have to conduct ourselves in this new cyber domain.'"

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Get Cyber-Mercenaries Suggests Ex NSA, CIA Director

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @12:28PM (#36974638)

    If one is familar with US history, in the 1800s, the meanest people around were not private armies or police. It was the hired guys like the Pinkertons who would come in and smash heads for the big businessmen.

    These guys even had judges under them, where people could be arrested, tried, and hanged all done privately.

    Do we want national security again in the hands of private business that is accountable to nothing but the bottom dollar?

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @12:33PM (#36974720) Homepage Journal

    Anyone that has ever read Machiavelli's the Prince knows that mercenaries are bound to bite you in the ass sooner or later. And while the US has made light use of mercenary troops, we've already seen BlackWater have to change it's name to "Xe Services" after it's outrageous actions caused such a shit storm around the world.

    You take a maverick group like Blackwater, give them greyhats with a black lining and put them in charge of cyberwarfare, it's only a matter of time till they abuse it to such an extent that they create more problems than they are worth or worse, are ordered to spy on or act against US citizens on US soil in an overt attempt to circumvent US laws regarding the actions of the US gov't.

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @01:16PM (#36975228)

    If there can be online pirates, there can be online privateers. Say the US declares Cyber-war on China. Instead of needing to hire, outfit and finance a full Cyber-Army, just declare "any American who hacks China can a) do so legally and b) keep any valuable stuff they steal". Maybe even pay bounties - $10,000 to take down the People's Congress website for a day, $100,000 for each classified document stolen, etc. Private corporations might pay, too - I'm sure Apple would pay a decent amount for someone to damage whatever factory is currently producing iPod knock-offs. Or even just regular corporate espionage, just more publicly since it's legalized.

    Then all you really need to focus on is defense, and defense is a lot easier for the big slow guy. Since you get an instant army whenever you go on the attack, you can pretty much just play a slow, conservative defense game.

  • by Bookworm09 ( 1321243 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @01:50PM (#36975560)

    2. Cheaper. Real soldiers tend to cost more - because we pay for their training, long term support, etc.

    Not true. We do pay for their training: almost without exception, the guys who work for companies like Blackwater/Xe and Triple Canopy are veterans of elite military units. So their business model is essentially this: 1. Let the US government spend the time and money training special operations personnel and (just as important) getting them experience in real-world operations. 2. Entice them to leave the military (if they already hadn't on their own) with the promise of lots of money and less "bullshit" (rules), 3. Sell their services back to the military at ridiculously high rates. 4. Profit. If companies like Blackwater/Xe had to train their own personnel from scratch, their business models would fall apart. They're another example of "the free market" relying on the government to provide them the resources that they exploit to enrich themselves. And the vast majority of them seethe about "government waste, fraud, and abuse" the whole time they do it. I have first-hand experience with PMC's; I used to work for a competitor of Blackwater's. In fact, if the Obama (or any other) administrtion were to try to do this, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if they saw a bunch of "cyber operators" quit the NSA, Air Force, etc., and sign up.

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