Cult of Cyberwar: Cult Chieftain wins debate, bad guys thought good fellows by audience

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 8:41 pm by George Smith

Wrong venue, wrong audience.

You’re in the wrong place when you’re trying to argue ” ‘The Cyber War Threat Has Been Grossly Exaggerated'” before an audience at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.” — this from NPR here.

Sort of reminiscent of famous catastrophic bills in rock and roll. Like the Jimi Hendrix Experience opening for the Monkees.

Marc Rotenberg and Bruce Schneier went up against Cult of Cyberwar chieftain Mike McConnell of Booz Allen Hamilton and Jonathan Zittrain.

Sez NPR:

Before the debate, the audience voted 24 percent in favor of the motion “The Cyber War Threat Has Been Grossly Exaggerated,” and 54 percent against, with 22 percent undecided. And the side arguing against the motion carried the day: After the debate, 71 percent of the audience voted to oppose the motion, 23 percent supported it and 6 percent remained undecided.

John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News’ Nightline, moderated the June 8 debate.

“What Mike McConnell didn’t mention is that grossly exaggerating a threat of cyberwar is grossly profitable,” argued Schneier, a point others have made — including me, many times.

“The last article I saw said there’s about $400 million in Booz Allen contracts on cyberwar. You don’t get those by saying, you know, this is kind of dumb. But it really is.”

McConnell did not respond — which was lame. It was a good challenge and Schneier made it twice, the second time in his closing statement. The moderator, a newsman, didn’t care to call the Booz Allen man out on it. And it was not something that resonated in the venue or with the audience. Bald-faced conflicts of interest often don’t raise the ire one thinks they should in polite American intellectual salons.

There was also a good bit of laughter and jokes about beer during the discussion, allegedly conducted to Oxford rules.

The transcript is here.

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