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Get Cyber-Mercenaries Suggests Ex NSA, CIA Director

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the watch-out-for-the-black-ice dept.

Security 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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Do like the Romans (5, Insightful)

OnionFighter (1569855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974618)

Because mercenaries worked so well for them.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974754)

Because mercenaries worked so well for them.

Well mercenaries worked out pretty well for the Pope, saved his ass at least once in the middle ages.

In contrast official government forces, praetorian guards - elite legionaries, did not work out so well for many roman emperors.

YMMV.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975052)

"In contrast official government forces, praetorian guards - elite legionaries, did not work out so well for many roman emperors."

This doesn't necessarily mean that things didn't work out well for Romans (minus one emperor).

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975806)

It may work on the occasional need, but they are expensive, and relying on them regularly costs a crap ton of money. Same as black water.

Re:Do like the Romans (5, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974850)

This is more like a digital Taliban: giving resources to people whose goals might allign with your now (and a long as the money keeps coming) but who in the end likely have a morality that's 180 degrees opposite to yours. Of course we all know how well supporting the Taliban worked out for the US in the end.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974882)

We never supported the Taliban. Read up on where they came from and how they took power before you go spouting nonsense like this.

Hint: when we supported Afghanistan, all of what would become the Taliban were kids.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974946)

OK, good point. And where did all those weapons and that training wind up?

With their kids.

Maybe the better takeaway is not to go fucking around where we ain't got no business fucking around.

Which is all of the world outside our own borders.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974974)

Sure. We have no external enemies. Nobody has the guts to hack the good ole USA. Nah.

OTOH, this is a general that blew lots of calls, and is essentially clueless regarding modern threats. Blackwater is a Grand Caymans organization now; why use them when we have lots of great hackers in the US? Better still, let's organize them into their own military branch that might have better logistics to suit the medium of battle.

Re:Do like the Romans (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975112)

It's pretty uncontroversial.

Wikipedia on US support for Jihad [wikipedia.org] in Afghanistan :

"U.S. government financial support for the Afghan Islamic militants was substantial. Aid to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan mujahideen leader. and founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami radical Islamic militant faction, alone amounted "by the most conservative estimates" to $600 million. Hekmatyar "worked closely" with bin Laden in the early 1990s.[71] In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars of American aid, Hekmatyar also received the lion's share of aid from the Saudis.[72] There is evidence that the CIA supported Hekmatyar's drug trade activities by giving him immunity for his opium trafficking that financed operation of his militant faction.[73]"

Then after those radical islamists took power in the 90's [wikipedia.org] :

"Foreign powers, including the United States, briefly supported the Taliban, hoping it would restore order in the war-ravaged country. For example, it made no comment when the Taliban captured Herat in 1995, and expelled thousands of girls from schools."

I also distinctly remember CNN reporting how the US was giving Afghanistan money to burn (opium) poppy fields, this was in the 90's way before 9/11 and before alliances shifted and we suddenly began hearing about how evil Taliban were destroying priceless buddha statues in the lead-up to war.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975712)

Just so you know: the statement that the US supported Islamic militants and the statement that the US supported the Taliban are different claims. Yes, they're related (especially since the Taliban was drawn from the groups of Islamic militants), but they are different things. We might also take a minute to point out that the US (and the other Allies) supported evil communist USSR during World War 2. Was that a good or bad decision? I just like to throw that out there for everyone who likes to complain about the US supporting Islamic Militants against the USSR, because almost no one is willing to take the step of condemning the Western Allies for their support of the USSR, even though it was clear that the USSR was an enemy of the West.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

castle (6163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36976122)

Distinction without difference, or at least too little difference to matter.

We all have the British Foreign Office to thank for most of this anyway.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36976000)

We never supported the Taliban.

No, certainly not. They post-date the Russian occupation. However, we did (under Reagan and Bush I) support extreme islamic guerillas preferentially over the democratic Afghan resistance, which I could not understand at the time at all.

Saying (as they did) that the ISI recommended this course of action does not excuse it to anyone who has the slightest familiarity with the ISI.

Re:Do like the Romans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36976004)

I don't know where you get this cool-aid from but you are a moron if you believe we don't fund and support terrorism all over the globe, including various parents of groups operating in Afghanistan today.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

TheDarkNose (1613701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975166)

We're looking for people who don't have morality. The only problem would be if someone with morality that's 180 degree opposite to ours had more money to pay them. Besides, Roman mercenaries were at least better than Roman slaves...

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975380)

They will need to be paid indefinitely then ? That's the problem with mercenaries, they don't quit when you do they just switch sides or go into business for themselves. At least with traditional mercenaries they were the problem of the peasants of whatever far flung region they were in when you stopped paying them, hackers can strike anywhere. Also last I heard the US was suffering a little cash-flow problem already, why throw money away on BS like this ?

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975508)

Of course we all know how well supporting the Taliban worked out for the US in the end.

In the 'end'? What 'end'? When you're in the war business, I would say it's working out pretty well. With no end in sight, it can only mean more profit.

Thanks for the image.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974868)

I now of an image of geeky grossly overweight "cyber-mercs" with bad hygiene dressed as Roman Legionaries.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974916)

The Roman Empire hasn't gone anywhere. Like Blackwater, they just 'reorganized'. And it really makes no difference whether your hired assassins wear a corporate logo or a national flag on their sleeves

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975020)

Government entities are more accountable.

Blackwater is for cowards who want to hide behind accounting practices and corporate 'privacy'.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975438)

How's that? It's the government that pays for Blackwater's services. And if we want to discuss 'cowardly', let's talk about the drone pilots who risk nothing at all except a possible reprimand. They work for the government with even greater secrecy. Accountability means nothing when nobody holds them up to it. We have precisely the same power over Blackwater as we do the government

Re:Do like the Romans (2)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 3 years ago | (#36976074)

You can shut up about the drone pilots. As a former military pilot myself, we wanted every standoff weapon there was -- air-to-air missiles with longer ranges; air launched cruise missiles with longer ranges, precision guided bombs with longer ranges. We weren't hanging our butts over the combat zone to rack up style points, we had a job to do and minimizing risk to ourselves was part of that -- if for nothing else, to save the expense of training replacements. Before air launched weapons, everyone wanted longer range artillery for the same reasons. The drones are just better standoff weapons. If you don't like them, your complaint is with the policy makers (and the citizens who elect them), not the operators.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974954)

More insightful commentary from General Michael Hayden is available at the following url:

http://www.thisisthedumbestshitever.com/ignoramus/ [thisisthed...itever.com]

Re:Do like the Romans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975026)

I am dismayed that's not a real page. You should create it.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975466)

Et tu, Blackwater?

Re:Do like the Romans (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975628)

Because mercenaries worked so well for them.

This is a very different situation. If one of my clients hired a group of 'cyber-mercenaries' (calling something cyber-anything make me want to puke) my client could absolve themselves of liability and culpability of any wrongdoings by said mercenaries (just like the US government washes their hands of Blackwater's problems). In fact, if these mercenaries also have government contracts their actions probably would never be properly investigated at all.

I'm not in favor of this idea, but it certainly has show to be a successful buffer from responsibility.

Re:Do like the Romans (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36976066)

Why don't we fix the real problem and allow the government agencies responsible for these things to pay market wages for the best talent on the planet?

Great, the Pinkertons... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Great, the Pinkertons... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974912)

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?

What are you, some kind of socialist? Corporations are citizens too, you know. If they want to get together and pass laws and get "their" people elected or appointed to public office, they have a perfect right to do so.
[/sarcasm]

Re:Great, the Pinkertons... (1)

darnkitten (1533263) | more than 3 years ago | (#36976104)

Pshaw. Pinkertons aint got nothin' on the Continental Op. [wikipedia.org]

The Continental Op cursed as he crouched in the shadows of the basement; fourteen Slashdot posts, all modded troll...

What makes you think they aren't already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974642)

By the time somebody in the government says it is a good idea, somebody in the clandestine operations has already set it up to be done.

They aren't as dumb as they're made out to be. People might notice their failures. The goal is for the successes to never even merit a whiff of attention.

But let's hope they don't go for a Teeth of the Tiger approach. Tom Clancy's fetishes are not pleasant.

Hire Anonymous (2)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974648)

They seem to be doing a good job in taking down sites and pushing agendas. Maybe they can earn money while doing taking down China and the likes...

Re:Hire Anonymous (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974862)

I assume the government would want to hire people with some concept of subtlety.

Re:Hire Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974928)

Blackwater was sure subtle...

Regnum Defende... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974656)

... at all cost ey?

The way of all empires (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974666)

It's seems a common trend: a clear indicative of the end of and empire is that it starts to depend on mercenaries for its protection.

Re: The way of all empires (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974892)

It is the summary, not the story, that inserted the word "mercenary" into the discussion. A discussion revolving around that word won't be very useful unless we at least define it.

I don't think Blackwater (Xe) counts as a mercenary force, because, although they fight for profit, they do not remain neutral politically and simply fight for whatever side pays the best. (Please correct me if there are solid examples to the contrary). Mainly, the move towards contractors such as Xe boils down to an end-run around paying expensive military benefits (retirement and healthcare) to veterans. (Although I have little doubt Blackwater's former employees will end up suing Blackwater and the government for these benefits eventually - "we were right there, fighting along other US forces...").

Similarly, I can see the US government relying more on contractors for Cyberdefense, but not simply posting "hit jobs" on an anonymous bulletin board with a specified payout (which would truly be mercenary).

So, I'm not convinced any of this is "mercenary."

Re: The way of all empires (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974970)

You know Erik Prince (Blackwater founder) and his gang now works for the UAE sheiks, don't you?

Re: The way of all empires (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975430)

Civilian contractors doing military work are a long, long tradition in the US. The USAF doesn't develop predator drones. The Army doesn't make tanks or targeting systems, and we can't keep the # of ground forces up in an all-volunteer military without the use of services like Xe.

And the real operators at Xe were all military guys anyway. We're talking US soldiers that have had their military contracts expire and were willing and able to go back to the sandbox anyway.

Re: The way of all empires (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975028)

Clear trend? no. One correlation.

The Cyber Domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974694)

When conducting in the cyber domain. Please be careful to avoid minors.

I'm not so sure about this (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974712)

Maybe I'm wrong here but when looking at what's available on the "open market" right now it seems you've got security researchers, old-school hackers who tend to not really trust the government and actual criminals (in the sense that they're in it for the money and have few if any scruples).

Not really a good pool to hire mercenaries from, it'd be like hiring regular mercenaries from a pool filled with a bunch of guys who have the skills but are more interested in defensive measures (security researchers), roving bands of anarchists who pick their battles solely based on what would be the most interesting challenge and who don't like governments and of course bands of heavily armed criminals much like the "armies" of the south american drug cartels.

I just don't think it would work out well. Of course, if they manage to create a new group of actual "cyber-mercenaries" that's a whole other thing but it's also not a sure thing (being able to create that group, that is).

what could possible go wrong? (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974714)

So, the idea is to put together a bunch of criminal genius types who operate on the worlds computer networks with impunity. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:what could possible go wrong? (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975034)

No the idea is to hire people without the government pay scale getting in the way. Think of them as a group like Lulz or Anonymous except they have the ability to make a real contributions instead of just annoying people and harassing companies that produce computer games. Stuxnet was a better solution than bombing the ever living shit out of the Iranian nuclear material production facilities and all the consequences that would have arisen had someone done so. And all those other private security companies help reduce the number of American soldiers needed to provide bodyguard services to foreign leaders who can''t trust their own military protection services.

Re:what could possible go wrong? (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975066)

It's not like those guys aren't already online. Keep your enemies closer, and all that.

this doesn't turn out how they think it will (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974716)

"In 2002, a 'l33t haxx0r unit was sent to prison by a MPAA court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a minimum security basement to the San Francisco underground. Today, still wanted by the RIAA they survive as hackers for hire. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them....maybe you can hire The lambda."

me fail copy & paste (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974776)

In 2002, a 'l33t haxx0r unit was sent to prison by a MPAA court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a minimum security basement to the San Francisco underground. Today, still wanted by the RIAA they survive as hackers for hire. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them....maybe you can hire The lambda team."

That's what I get for trying to go for the cheap joke.

Re:this doesn't turn out how they think it will (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974794)

Does one of them have a mohawk and wear lots of chains?

"I pity the fool that set up that firewall..."

The Prince Says "No". (5, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974720)

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.

Re:The Prince Says "No". (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975348)

Cyber warfare ultimately and logically leads to blowing up servers or other physical acts along the route.

It's also problematic and not in the lightest sense that the people who make privatization and outsourcing recommendations are often themselves working as consultans for possible future contractors.

Not in the U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974730)

Hiring mercenaries makes sense when a war is so extensive you can't possibly field all the forces you need yourself. You do have to be comfortable with the fact that mercenaries have their own set of rules and their behavior, not entirely under your governance, is going to reflect on you.

The United States is intentionally capable of fighting multiple wars at once. We have no need to take the risk of mercenaries giving us a bad name. America privatizing warfare is nothing but a handout to somebody's buddies and is completely unnecessary.

Re:Not in the U.S. (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975044)

Hiring mercenaries makes sense when a war is so extensive you can't possibly field all the forces you need yourself. You do have to be comfortable with the fact that mercenaries have their own set of rules and their behavior, not entirely under your governance, is going to reflect on you.

The United States is intentionally capable of fighting multiple wars at once. We have no need to take the risk of mercenaries giving us a bad name. America privatizing warfare is nothing but a handout to somebody's buddies and is completely unnecessary.

Hiring mercenaries also makes sense when you don't have time to equip your own forces. If it takes 10 years to go through the government procurement process and you're buying new model rifles, the soldiers still get an effective new weapon even though the design is 10 years old. When you end up with waiting 10 years to get brand new 10 year old old computers then your IT defenses are pretty wretched. If the whole operation is contracted out then the contractors don't have to deal with that kind of thing and be more effective with up to date gear.

Re:Not in the U.S. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975398)

when a country is ruled by meta-corporations with the government in their pockets, of course over time the amount of government services handled by contractors must increase. The end game is a few mega-corporations owning everything, everyone not imprisoned or on welfare (and we can combine those two groups for efficiency) paying rent to them and a government contractor. The direction of most countries, the global dystopia is being put together right now, some may call it The New World Order.

Cyber and mercenary... (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974744)

...is just the right combination of bullshit and immorality the world has been waiting for!

Re:Cyber and mercenary... (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975040)

This is why William Gibson started writing novels that take place in the present. The world caught up with his dystopian ideas.

sounds like they want a new way to make money (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974746)

and take US Taxpayer money and put it in their offshore bank accounts. No more for-profit mercenaries like blackwater or Xe or whatever they are called this week.

Yeah, because that was a great idea. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974792)

The whole Blackwater thing was a cash-grab by Cheney and Halliburton (which owned Blackwater), abusing the "sole-source" rules for contract awards. It's one of the reasons PNAC started the war.

And the Blackwater teams weren't good guys, or even bad guys turned good. They were crooks, spoiling for a fight. Their fuckups cost as much as their original contract, and crippled diplomacy, causing even more cost.

Moral: don't use mercs. If you want them to fight for you, conscript them and teach them you mean business about discipline before you let them loose on the battlefield.

Double-down on that for cyber-thugs, who think they're fucking invisible.

Re:Yeah, because that was a great idea. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975068)

ha, that woudl be funny.

The US enact the draft only for 'previously trained eligible people', then draft all the blackwater employees....and for good measure make them service personnel.

An excuse to take ops away from the military. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974800)

Yet another excuse to outsource. That is all.

No (2)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974806)

One of the architects of US foreign policy under George W. Bush.

Any person with that in their resume should be banned from any contact with public service or public policy whatsoever.

No oversight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974852)

Booz-Allen, Palantir, HB Gary Federal, Mantech, ... There's already a bunch of "cyber" security companies that contract with the DoD that do "offensive" operations. Why does the government need to create another one? Is it just so US intelligence can get around Congressional oversight (as if there is any now!) again?

Re:No oversight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975076)

But that's just it isn't it... they already have their 'cyber'-mercenaries... now it is just a matter of getting the public used to the New Reality...
Since they already have them, it'll be easy to identify any citizen opposing them.

Advantages of Merceneraries (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974886)

1. Deni-ability. No, we did not tell them to cross over into Cambodia.

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

3. Lost lives are civilians, not military. Who cares if a merc dies, but congressman have to care about American soldiers.

Of those three reasons, only Deniability applies to cyber soldiers. Civilian firms tend to be more expensive not less and cyber soldiers don't die, they just get 'schooled'.

There is one possible extra benefit for cyber-mercs. That is getting a higher quality coder. But the problem there is that the government can afford certain more expensive equipment than private firms. Throw in patriotism and the top coders might prefer a government salary to being a merc.

Re:Advantages of Merceneraries (5, Interesting)

Bookworm09 (1321243) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Advantages of Merceneraries (1)

Bookworm09 (1321243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975574)

Just to clarify: we pay for the training of the mercenaries hired by the likes of Blackwater/Xe, etc.

Re:Advantages of Merceneraries (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975820)

2. Cheaper. Real soldiers tend to cost more - because we pay for their training, long term support, etc.
I doubt that. In the book, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army", they point out that the mercenaries are quite a bit more expensive than traditional troops. The reason nations pay for them is because they can quickly get troops without the long training period, and because it can be difficult to get enough traditional troops into the field without a draft. As a result of higher costs, nations tended to only pay for mercs when their regular army was overstretched. One of the problems with the use of Blackwater is that regular troops were leaving the US military to get a job with Blackwater, which would pay them a lot more money - because Blackwater was negotiating higher rates with the US military. It created resentment among regular troops towards the mercs because they knew that the mercs were getting paid a lot more money than they were.

(Another thing that Blackwater was increasingly doing was hiring foreigners from places like Chile because they were cheaper than Americans. It was basically outsourcing to the low-income countries, like what happens in manufacturing. You can bet those mercs have no loyalty to the US - and the US was indirectly paying for their training and equipment.)

How about fixing computer security instead? (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974918)

Instead of going through all this wasted effort, how about we just fix computer security and be done with it?

Default permissive environments are the problem.

Capability based security is the answer.

No incursion on our few remaining liberties, no more virus scanners, worms, etc... no more DRM... what's not to like?

Re:How about fixing computer security instead? (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975084)

Your view on computer security is.. myopic.

Re:How about fixing computer security instead? (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975116)

Fix computer security?

hehe, that's a good one. Make it better, I can understand. Fix is asking the impossible.

Re:How about fixing computer security instead? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975396)

Burglaries still occur. How about we just fix home security and be done with it?

Re:How about fixing computer security instead? (1)

kbg (241421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975832)

How many times has the White House or the Pentagon been burgled? You can fix general security, it all depends on how much you want to spend on it.

Re:How about fixing computer security instead? (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975922)

Instead of going through all this wasted effort, how about we just fix computer security and be done with it?

And while we're at it we might as well throw in world peace, a world-wide end to hunger and a couple ponies. Sadly all of these could be accomplished by killing everyone....Well, maybe not the ponies.

Re:How about fixing computer security instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975960)

Show your national ID, citizen, to access your home. You've got 5 seconds before the police SWAT team is called. Walking without the national ID is subversive activity. All subversives are quickly caught and tagged with implantable id chips, thanks to the new, illustrious computer system monitoring every street corner and business transactions.

If the capability based security is implemented badly, this is how the user likely feels while using the system. Of course, a capability based access control is a DRM system in its purest form.

This web sight (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974934)

I read these posts and some of the shit you people say about the government really pisses me off. You cocksuckers are fucking GAY and are TERRORISTS. you fuck yourself you faggots

Slow learners? (1)

Bookworm09 (1321243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36974944)

It's almost like they didn't learn anything from Blackwater. Either that, or they just seriously don't give a shit about the repercussions of hiring people you can't control.

Cyborgs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36974958)

You mean like the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie? ...or more like in R.I.F.T.S. and Warhammer 40,000 and Cyberpunk and GURPS? ...or perhaps like James Cameron's Terminator, as portrayed by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself?

how about letting go (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975016)

Anybody ever in one of those organizations ever suggested the US to let go?

They need to roll some joints and let go.

The need to let go of trying to have an empire, USA can't have an empire, it doesn't have the wealth - production capacity, to have an empire. Empires are the last stage of a dying super-power, because that's the time that the government grew so much, it became the dominant industry, while all other industries are collapsing due to underproduction and resource mis-allocation towards the government and its preferred monopolies.

How about letting go of trying to be an empire and reducing the government instead, firing 99% of the government employees and contractors, wouldn't it be another great experiment that USA could be first in and show the world how it's done, how an economy can be rebuilt not by force of government intervention but by the Free people that US citizens supposedly used to be. Being Free, isn't that why people came to US?

Re:how about letting go (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975184)

The U.S. is free because of the government, not despite it; the people didn't spontaneously decide to let women vote or end slavery. I will just ignore the rest of your post except to say that the government was made this way by the people themselves; it's a strange position that when free people freely do what you don't approve of, they're somehow no longer free.

Re:how about letting go (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975764)

The USA WAS Free because the federal government was forced to abide by a Constitution created by a bunch of idealists, who had to ensure that separate States would ratify that Constitution and agree to be part of the federation. Your surprise to the fact that over time the federal government and Supreme court found ways to get around the law that was binding them is strange.

This is equivalent to many companies that are started by people who are really interested in what they are doing, that become great companies while the original founders are still at the helm, and then once the original founders are gone, the companies go down the hill. HP immediately comes to mind, Ford as well, there are many.

Re:how about letting go (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975936)

The current thinking among most people in the US is that the government needs to provide jobs for the 30+ million people officially unemployed and probably the other 60+ million that are "underemployed" or stealthy unemployed. We are currently at around 46% of the people in the US being dependent on the government for their "alternative income" - this isn't government jobs but government handouts.

All that is needed is to move this 46% to more like 60% and the country will be finally reshaped the way some people would like it. No more "corporations" or abusive private industry. Heck, probably no more "private" anything. The government will be the employer and if you aren't working directly for the government, you are working for a supplier that sells everything to the government. No need for unemployment anymore, because everyone has a job. No need for private health care either - we're all government employees.

This has nothing to do with "empire" and "empire building" and everything to do with the future of the people of this planet. The USSR collapsed partly because the people finally figured out they could not depend on the government to fulfill its promises to take care of everyone, permanently. The people in the US didn't get that message and we are well down the road to being completely reliant on government to take care of everything.

With 60% or more of the people depending on the government for their income, their housing, their food and their healthcare we will finally see some folks voted into office that promise to take care of everyone, permanently. Why wouldn't everyone vote for that plan? If it means kicking out all the rich people and rich corporations so the "regular people" can just live in peace and be taken care of, so what?

Re:how about letting go (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36976076)

Agree with your comment, but the USSR didn't just fall apart because people 'finally figured out' something. It fell apart because it was bankrupt and couldn't provide anything, any products to its people, even though it had 100% employment.

That's where USA is heading if it is going to continue with this ideology that government must do all the thinking, central planning, hiring and money printing and all this spending. I was born in USSR and that's actually exactly how I remember it.

Get rid of Army types (1)

losttoy (558557) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975024)

Every time one of these ex-XYZ or ex-Army or current ones open their mouth, it becomes abundantly clear how clueless they are about nature of the digital worlds and how hopeless it is to entrust the DoD/Government's digital security in their hands.

Mercenaries = Consultants (1)

DonSasquatcho (1716534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975030)

We already have cyber security mercenary groups. They go by the names of "Accenture" or "IBM" or "McKinsey"... but they prefer to be called "Consulting companies"... "Mercenary groups" is so... tacky.

I'm all for this (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975070)

It's my turn on the military-industrial complex's gravy train!

Re:I'm all for this (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975482)

soon we'll be in one of a few groups:

1. mega-corporation drone or soldier
2. drone of government, owned by the mega-corporations
3. on welfare
4. in prison, maybe combined with #3


You probably will not be in group #0, elite who control mega-corporations, high barrier to entry what with either needing billions in net worth or incredible political power and influence due to being bitch of one with billions in net worth.

I can't imagine why he would say that (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975118)

oh, wait:

"He is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group, a security consultancy co-founded by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.[3] "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hayden_(general) [wikipedia.org]

G

Re:I can't imagine why he would say that (2)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975238)

Translation:

"Hire my consulting firm with a multi-year contract and it won't be a problem anymore"

Re:I can't imagine why he would say that (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36976038)

"He is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group"

The people who brought you the useless and expensive X-ray backscatter peep shows at you local airport.

"a number of controversies"? (2)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975154)

interesting way to describe events like the Blackwater Baghdad shootings [wikipedia.org] ...

and I think the US has digital mercaneries working in a gray area - think of all the private IT security companies working for the government (anonymous/lulzsec targets are sufficient examples: ManTech, HBGary)

Better idea - Cyber-Privateers (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Summon a monster to kill a monster. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975316)

I like the policy "Summon a greater monster to kill a monster." The previous generation empowered Islamic Fundamentalists to kill Communism, this generation will create Private Armies to curb Terrorism, the next generation will create something to destroy nuke-powered stateless private armies.

This won't end badly. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975624)

Trust us. We need to have this capability, because it's vital to our security. Trust us. Sure, we spy, torture, seize, and grope without warrants. But you can believe us when we say we protect your rights.

Am I crazy or is this a fishing trip for the feds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975666)

Whether the feds want to hire these guys for real or just build a database of names so they can round them up later, this is a pretty good scam. They don't have to hire anybody, just write down your name and address. Then, if anything goes wrong, they can track you for life to see who you talk to, what you do, etc. It's a beautiful scam. Then again, maybe they do really want to announce to the whole world that they are hiring hackers. Yeah, that's probably it.

We're supposed to be the good guys (2)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975792)

and the best way to do this is to use people who are subject to Status of Forces agreements, and under control of the civilian authority. Use Marines to guard embassies, Security Police to guard Airbases, &c.

I wouldn't hire Blackwater, Xe, Chertoff Group &c. to pick up my trash.

Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 11 (2)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975824)

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Reading the U.S. Constitution for a modern era. Bring on the digital Letters of Marque and Reprisal!

Avast, matey! Batten down the routers and prepare to repel boarders!

I'm in.

Utter nonsense (1)

E.I.A (2303368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975850)

Just what we need at home; more psycho contractors to torment US civilians while enjoying limitless impunity and Elvis music, as they cruise around the interweb looking for anything that has an IP. Crap. see cyber gangsta for my view on the matter: http://tinyurl.com/3v9z5bo [tinyurl.com]

Reverse Google Bounty! (2)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36975872)

Rather than "hire" a bunch of people and support staff, and buildings, and technology, just use capitalism!

Start a website called US Digital Bounty Hunter Service. Post targets and corresponding bounty amounts.

Sit back and enjoy the show!

or

1) Post Cyber Warfare Bounties
2) ???
3) PROFIT!!!

Digital Blackwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975884)

Blackwater consisted of men unfit for the Army who were kicked out due to mental instability. These berzerkers were hired by Blackwater where they tortured and killed civilians without any regard to law, and would run back home to the USA crying every time they got in trouble. They were paid rapists, torturers, and murderers on the public dime to literally cause mayhem and do little else. Most of the security assignments were complete failures, though we never stopped paying through the nose for their "services".

Blackwater, in short, was a rip-off. We got very little out of it, it cost a lot, and an incredible number of people were hurt by our hand-picked team of psychotic deviants. Now we want a digital version? I guarantee if this happens, we'll see them extorting and harassing innocent civilians here. Eventually they'd get shut down, but not after the damage has been done.

Just remember that this was a Bush administration idea. Some of the very worst, most depraved thinking has come from that administration, and none of the items on their "To Do" list should be carried out.

Screaming Fist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36975972)

Just you wait for the digital cyber blackwatergate. *rimshot* Try the fish, I'll be here all week.

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36976090)

These digital mercenaries, just like the more firearms related kinds are doing, would want to keep the gravy train going.
One would think that the NSA and CIA would have heard of Machiavelli.

Good Generals Just Fade Away (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36976244)

Retirement becomes this noble hero. I believe that the General's boss was a short sighted, self centered, twit. And this general followed him into battle. Maybe to the General outsourcing his Depends is acceptable, but I believe that there are more than enough good Americans that can handle this job, very well.

Republican since 1971
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