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Cyberspace Security Plan

Please give me your opinion about this.


here is a glen beck interview today about it

BECK: Those who worry most about us morphing into some kind of Orwellian, totalitarian "1984" state -- you can count me on that group now -- realize that it won`t happen overnight. Instead, it happens a little by little.

First, it`s cameras out on the streets to help deter crime. Then it`s giant databases that store information about suspected terrorists. And then, before you know it, we`re all being branded at birth with serial numbers on the back of our frickin` necks and they`re shooting chips into our head.

Oops. Did I say that out loud?

I understand that sometimes it`s tough to figure out with where the line is. But wasn`t there a Supreme Court justice that once said about pornography, "I just know it when I see it"?

Well, I`m pretty sure I saw it today. According to a recent interview, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell is reportedly drafting a cyberspace security plan that would give our government the ability to read every single piece of Internet information that crosses into the U.S.

OK. I guess figuring out where the line is isn`t so tough after all. Storing terrorists` iris scans in some data bank? OK. Storing information about my eBay searches? No, I don`t think so.

Lawrence Wright is the author of "The Looming Tower" and the "New Yorker" writer who interviewed Mike McConnell.

Where did this -- at what point did this -- did you sit in the interview and go, well, this doesn`t sound good?

LAWRENCE WRIGHT, "NEW YORKER" MAGAZINE: Actually, I found out about this from another source. McConnell didn`t tell me initially about it at all because it`s still a secret plan. And when I asked him about it, he wasn`t really very enthusiastic about having me surface it now. It`s still in draft form.

BECK: Good. So the ability to stop it is out there.

You know, I have to tell you, I`m a conservative. I`m a guy who says, let`s get tough on them, let`s nail these guys to the wail, let`s -- I`m for the Patriot Act, as long as it has a sunset. Show me those -- show me those people who have been abused by it.

But you know what? I`m to the point to where I don`t trust the government. And not necessarily the government we have now, but with a government we could have in the future.

Enough is enough, Lawrence. What is -- what is this plan?

WRIGHT: Glenn, this plan would allow the government to monitor all e- mail, file transfers, Web browsing that anybody does.

BECK: Even if I -- even if I -- my Aunt Jo Ann (ph) in Washington, I`m in new York, it doesn`t leave the United States, they read that e-mail as well?

WRIGHT: They have the potential of doing that under this plan. They may not, but they could.

The dilemma that we`re being asked to solve here is this -- as one of my sources said, in this game, privacy and security are zero sum game. If you want more privacy, then the whole Internet that the whole global economy depends upon is left vulnerable to a cyber attack. If you`re afraid of that and you want to protect that, you`re going to have to surrender some of your privacy. And you have to trust the government to do that, and it`s historically been unworthy of that trust.

BECK: What do they say is going to happen? A 9/11 cyber hit where it shuts everything down?


BECK: What are they afraid of?

WRIGHT: yes, exactly that. A digital Pearl Harbor, if you will.

The truth is, this is another one of the ironies. The Internet was created by the Defense Department in order to create a survivable government. It wanted redundancy.

It wanted to create an open system. But that very openness of the architecture left it vulnerable. And now we`re trying to figure out a way to retrofit that in order to make it safe. And it`s very difficult to do.

BECK: Your article comes out with all of the details next week, right?

WRIGHT: No, it`s out on the stands now.

BECK: It`s on the stands now? And it looks like Bush -- if all goes all according to plan, this may be proposed in February?

WRIGHT: The plans, as I heard them, are that he was going to roll them out in early February, maybe in the State of the Union message.

BECK: Holy cow, man. We`re living in a scary, scary time.

Thank you very much.

WRIGHT: A pleasure.