WikiLeaks: An Act Of Cyberwar?
Marine Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, says he is "not aware" that the Defense Department is behind any attempts to attack the WikiLeaks site, whose founder, Julian Assange, is in a British jail on a Swedish warrant accusing him of rape.
The Pentagon is spending $150 million this fiscal year on a new command to lead cyberwar efforts, which are aimed principally at defending military computer networks or attacking those of the enemy.
"The United States has powerful offensive capabilities in cyberspace," says Herbert Lin, an analyst at the National Academies,which advises the government on science and technology issues. "The question is how they should be using them."
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said WikiLeaks' publishing of stolen documents endangers lives and gives enemies valuable information. Assange's lawyers say a huge file of unreleased secret material will be made public if the United States attempts to prosecute him.
Assange's actions warrant a cyberattack, some say.
Christian Whiton, a former State Department official under the Bush administration, says WikiLeaks is a foreign organization trying to impede U.S. policy.
"Assaulting the company electronically is something worth trying," Whiton says. "It buys you time to go after the organization in other ways."
Experts say the government is struggling with developing rules that will govern such warfare, particularly when fighting unconventional enemies. Launching a cyberattack could raise sovereignty issues if, for example, servers were located in a friendly country.
"Every time one question is answered, more questions pop up," says Army Lt. Col. Robert Fanelli, a computer sciences assistant professor at West Point.
Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>
CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.>>
BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon.>>
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home. Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.>>
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - A South Pacific cruise was interrupted by brawls apparently caused by a 23-member family who threw punches at other passengers, some of whom said they locked themselves in cabins to escape three days of violence. The Carnival Legend arrived in its home port of Melbourne on Saturday, a day after a family was offloaded in an unscheduled stop in Eden, New South Wales in Australia.>>
MOSES LAKE, Wash. - The Grant County Sheriff's Office says a woman is in the hospital after a vehicle fire Saturday morning in Moses Lake. Deputies say the fire was caused by her companion pumping gas into a garbage can inside their car. Fire crews and deputies responded to Cascade Grocery at 8034 Valley Road Northeast around 8:15 a.m.>>
SNOQUALMIE NATIONAL FOREST, Wash. - A Mill Creek man is under investigation by the FBI after child pornography was found inside a tree house in the Snoqualmie National Forest. According to court documents obtained by KIRO 7, the unauthorized tree house is located off the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River, and was reported by an employee of the Department of Natural Resources. A DNR worker took several photographs off the child porn-covered walls to show>>