A group of former intelligence agency directors and other trustworthy cybersecurity pros has launched a charitable initiative to protect US elections against foreign interference. So who are these noble guardians of democracy?
The “US Cyberdome” claims to apply top-of-the-line cybersecurity capabilities to the country’s vulnerable election systems, motivated by nothing more than a selfless devotion to protecting democracy against “sophisticated attacks by constant and ever-evolving threats.” Stuffed with sinister ex-spooks like former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Cyberdome will keep America’s democracy safe from “purposeful attacks and exploits” and even “undue influence from enemies both foreign and domestic” – at no cost!
One might be forgiven for looking this particular gift horse in the mouth. Clapper, after all, stood in front of Congress and denied under oath that the NSA was collecting data on US citizens, an apparent act of perjury he attributed first to forgetting about the Patriot Act section used to authorize the agency’s StellarWind surveillance program and later to simple misspeaking. He has also claimed Russians are “genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor” – not exactly the kind of impartial authority one wants guarding one’s democracy. And Chertoff, a member of the infamous Atlantic Council, co-wrote both the Patriot Act and the CIA interrogation memo advising agents on the judicious use of waterboarding.
Other members of Cyberdome’s board of advisors include former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who oversaw Obama’s targeted drone assassination program and approved the killing of US citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki without due process; and former CIA director Michael Morell, another Atlantic Council member who was responsible for reviewing the “intelligence” that went into then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s infamous United Nations speech in which he claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. A less trustworthy bunch has not been assembled on an advisory board since the Orwellian browser plugin NewsGuard was unveiled.