CACI's Dr. Jack London on WikiLeaks, the Insider Threat and Defining Cyber War

Dr. J.P. "Jack" London, CACI

In the wake of the WikiLeaks disclosures that tarnished American diplomatic relations and highlighted the issue of the insider threat, many wondered whether leaks can ever be stopped. CACI International Inc‘s Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board Dr. Jack London, who previously called the world a “dangerous place,” talked to The New New Internet and gave an exclusive insight into why he believes legislative attention is needed to prevent secret spilling, why he is a firm believer of the rule of law, and what can be done to stop the unauthorized release of sensitive information.

On WikiLeaks and national security concerns:

“Certainly from a national security standpoint, it has created a significant challenge to our country and our national security establishment in terms of protecting really what purely are secrets and information and technical capability and so on that needs to be protected. And then, it’s a whole issue of really what constitutes an act of war. We’re in a world now, of course, where warfare can be implemented in various ways damaging to cultures and society that doesn’t involve kinetic energy, which traditionally has more the definition of combat and war was the kinetic side of things, if you will. And you’re dealing with something very new, conceptually and otherwise and, therefore, the statutes and the political arena is sort of, I would say, at a loss or certainly lagging behind the capability of adversaries and those that would be so disposed to do these kinds of things.”

On legislative attention:

“If I were clairvoyant and had a silver bullet, I would think that there needs to be some discourse around legislation that would create some definitions about what constitutes cyber warfare, what constitutes warfare in that domain, how warfare is distinguished from national security implications, from criminal activity. And I readily would make note of the fact that there undoubtedly would be some distinctions. But, the national security part of this is of course the part that concerns me from my professional position, if you will, and experience causes me considerable concern about it. [T]he Congress clearly would need to take a look at what I’ll call the commercial indiscretions that could come about from release of banking information, the things that we were talking about, proprietary technologies, patents, formulas, so forth.  Those kinds of things that are truly and legitimately company secrets. Those are private properties and need to be respected, but when you have the technology today that can just pile the stuff on a thumb drive and walk out the door and stick it in another box and spread it around the world. I mean, you got a different kind of a challenge.”

On the rule of law:

“I’m a rule of law person and if the rule of law says that the release of security-classified documents is against the law, then that’s where I am. If the Congress and the Supreme Court deem some other fashion, then that’s probably going to be fine with me, too, but I don’t think you can kind of say, ‘Well, there’s this need to know, so it’s okay for WikiLeaks to put stuff out, because the public needs to know this stuff.’ It’s a judgment that–and who authorizes? Who says and permits Mr. Assange to release all this stuff? Why does he think he has the authority to render a judgment about what is in the best interest of the people of this world, or the American people or national security? He has no right to do that anymore than anybody else.”

On preventing leaks:

“We’ve had some terrible, terrible violations of the sale of truly government national security military secrets to the Soviets, as you undoubtedly recall, and some things that were even sold to the Israelis or provided to them. I’m not sure that the notion of a 100 percent protection is even feasible, let alone something that can be addressed.  … The knowledge I have, or information I have that I’ve read and been briefed on from time to time, are people tend to believe with considerable conviction that the technological side of it is not the significant challenge that there are technologies, capabilities, systems, mechanisms and so on that would give you tremendous security protections, almost always on a tailor made basis, by the way.  … You have to revolve around or go back to the notion of screening, of compartmentalizing information or access maybe, access codes that have to be rotated.  You have to have a more elaborate mechanism, protocol, process, procedure, if you will, on the people side of the issue. There needs to be some conceptual way where you have to have a two-key solution.”

On the increase of WikiLeaks-like organizations:

“The funding and backing for these things can come from all kinds of sources, from organizations that are intent on focusing on competitors, if you’re in the commercial domain. And in an anonymous fashion, they can come from a small organization that can be funded by nation states on a paramilitary basis to attack other countries. [I]’ll be generous and say, [the United States is] lagging behind. I won’t say we’ve lost the game. By the way, I want to make a note that I believe the United States has a formidable cyber-warfare capability. …  There are some nation states that are very active in this area. As you know, Russia, certainly the Israelis and China have been coming on very strong. [The Chinese cyber threat] is formidable and it’s serious. And I think sort of ignoring it is frankly dangerous for us.”

The whole Q&A with Dr. Jack London follows on the next page.


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