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The Washington Post's Security Fix blog observes:

The secrecy surrounding the Bush administration's updated National Cyber Security Initiative -- designed to improve the government's digital defenses and put forth an offensive information warfare doctrine -- is endangering the deterrent value of the project and appears to be aimed chiefly at supporting spying operations abroad, a key U.S. Senate committee concludes in a new report.

The Bush Administration is notorious for its secrecy even when there's no purpose in it, as mcjoan observed on today's frontpage.  But here, it is not merely purposeless but actively counterproductive:

"It is difficult to conceive how the United States could promulgate a meaningful deterrence doctrine if every aspect of our capabilities and operational concepts is classified," the committee's report said. "In the era of superpower nuclear competition, while neither side disclosed weapons designs, everyone understood the effects of nuclear weapons, how they would be delivered, and the circumstances under which they would be used. Indeed, deterrence was not possible without letting friends and adversaries alike know what capabilities we possessed and the price that adversaries would pay in a real conflict. Some analogous level of disclosure is necessary in the cyber domain."

Keeping your deterrent secret?  It's right out of Dr. Strangelove:

I know a film professor who noticed her students didn't "get" Dr. Strangelove when she showed in class in the late 1990s.  The silver lining on the cloud of the Bush Administration is that she now tells me the students laugh throughout the movie.

Originally posted to John DE on Sat May 17, 2008 at 04:34 PM PDT.

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