Ex-Spy Chief: Get Ready for 'Cyber 9/11'

Mike McConnell says we've had our warning

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2012 2:35 PM CST

(Newser) – First, it was defense secretary Leon Panetta warning of a "cyber Pearl Harbor." Now, the former director of national intelligence says it's time to prepare for "the cyber equivalent of the World Trade Center attack," the Financial Times reports. Recent attacks on big banks like Wells Fargo, as well as a cyber-strike on data held by Saudi oil company Saudi Aramco, should be a "wake-up call," says Mike McConnell, who served presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. "We have had our 9/11 warning."

A cyberattack on our banking system and infrastructure could be disastrous: "All of a sudden, the power doesn’t work, there's no way you can get money, you can't get out of town, you can't get online, and banking, as a function to make the world work, starts to not be reliable," he said. "Now, that is a cyber Pearl Harbor, and it is achievable." Fortunately, a likely executive order from President Obama will "at least get the government players and agencies working together," says McConnell.

In this Sept. 18, 2007 file photo, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this Sept. 18, 2007 file photo, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)
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