ThinkProgress's Lee Fang spoke with Richard Clarke, former cyber security czar for the Bush administration who had served in the National Security Council under three presidents, about his condemnation of the Chamber "for plotting with a group of military contractors to hack into progressive groups."
Clarke denounced the scandal in no uncertain terms. Noting accurately that the Chamber “took foreign money in the last election,” a story also uncovered by ThinkProgress, Clarke said the Chamber had conspired to commit a “felony”:
FANG: Hi. You talked a lot about classifying and recognizing cyber security threats, but you mostly focused on foreign threats. I’m curious about a story that broke last month, that the US Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest trade association, based here in DC, had contracted or attempted to contract military defense firms like HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico, to develop proposals to use the same type of cyber warfare tactics normally reserved for Jihadi websites against left-wing activists, trade — labor unions, and left of center think tanks here in America. What do you think about that type of threat from a lobbyist or a corporation targeting political enemies, or perceived enemies here in the US?
CLARKE: I think it’s a violation of 10USC. I think it’s a felony, and I think they should go to jail. You call them a large trade association, I call them a large political action group that took foreign money in the last election. But be that as it may, if you in the United States, if any American citizen anywhere in the world, because this is an extraterritorial law, so don’t think you can go to Bermuda and do it, if any American citizen anywhere in the world engages in unauthorized penetration, or identity theft, accessing a number through identity theft purposes, that’s a felony and if the Chamber of Commerce wants to try that, that’s fine with me because the FBI will be on their doorstep in a matter of hours.
A number of lawmakers have called for an investigation of the Chamber over its probably illegal activities, and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) has requested documents from the NSA and Defense Department detailing their contracts with Berico and HBGary, the firms implicated in the scandal. It seems unlikely that any House committee controlled by the GOP would want to investigate. That would leave it the Justice Department.