In our new book Screwed!, we report that almost unnoticed and with no threat of retaliation, China has likely hacked into the United States electric grid, potentially giving it the ability to paralyze our economy and our nation by tapping a few keys on a computer.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bush’s anti-terrorism coordinator Richard Clarke reports that “in 2009, the control systems for the U.S. electric power grid [were] hacked and secret openings created so that the attacker could get back in with ease. One expert noted that the hackers “left behind software that could be used to cause disruptions or even shut down the system.”
While we cannot confirm that it was China that did the hacking, it is the only country with the technical expertise in hacking to have accomplished it.
What were the hackers after? Clarke notes that “there is no money to steal on the electrical grid, nor is there any intelligence value that would justify cyber espionage. The only point to penetrating the grid’s controls is to counter American military superiority by threatening to damage the underpinning of the U.S. economy. Chinese military strategists have written about how in this way a nation like China could gain an equal footing with the militarily superior United States.”
Anti-terror watchdogs have long been aware of the danger of an electromagnetic pulse triggered by the explosion of a nuclear device in the atmosphere over the United States. But by acquiring the ability to enter our grid anytime it wishes and disable it, China has likely acquired the ability to accomplish the same result without exploding a bomb.
Not only has Beijing likely hacked into our grid but, according to authors Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett II in their excellent book Bowing to Beijing, China has even hacked into the Pentagon computer network “including the one serving [then] Defense Secretary Robert Gates.”
James Lewis, director of the technology and policy program at the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies called the Chinese hacking “an espionage Pearl Harbor.” Lewis told 60 minutes that China had downloaded vast amounts of information from every major U.S. agency saying that we have lost more information than is stored in the entire Library of Congress through Chinese hacking.
What is the U.S. doing about it? Nothing. The modern day story of appeasement is not Obama’s kowtowing to Muslim extremists as much as his total failure to confront China.
The president and Secretary of State Clinton fret over alienating China for fear that they will stop lending us money. Romney, who understands these things better than either Obama or Clinton, emphasizes China’s vulnerability. “We sell then $50 billion. They sell us $400 billion. They want a trade war? Bring it on!”
The Chinese lend us money because they have to. They buy dollars to make our currency artificially expensive and theirs’ commensurately cheap. With their currency manipulation, our products are 40% more costly in their markets and theirs’ are 40% cheaper in our stores, fueling the imbalance of trade. Once they own the dollars, what are they going to do with them? The only safe thing is to buy U.S. Treasury notes, hence they “lend” us money. If they stopped buying dollars and acquiring an unfair trade advantage over us, we wouldn’t need them to keep lending us money, our economy would be thriving.
We cannot sit by complacently and let China rob us blind, hacking our technology, our military secrets, and our power grid. We need a president who will stand up for America.
To grasp the appalling extent of Chinese hacking and espionage against the U.S. commercial and military sectors, read about it in Screwed!, on sale now!