Fed Hack Was 'Cyber Pearl Harbor,' and We're Yawning
Jonah Goldberg: Imagine if this were a physical theft by Chinese spies
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2015 12:24 PM CDT
This file photo shows the Homeland Security Department headquarters in northwest Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

(Newser) – The massive hack of millions of federal workers' data has resulted in the phrase "cyber Pearl Harbor" being thrown around, writes Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times. And yet, the government is downplaying the story and the American public doesn't seem all that phased by it, despite the potentially catastrophic implications. "Countless current and past federal employees are now extremely vulnerable to blackmail and even recruitment by Chinese intelligence operatives," writes Goldberg. Now imagine for a moment if this were a physical theft instead of a hack, if we caught Chinese spies breaking into government buildings and hauling off files by the truckload, he writes.

"My hunch is that the airwaves would be full of people talking about how 'this was an act of war,'" and demanding an appropriate response. Instead, we've got radio silence. It's probably because we still can't quite wrap our heads around this kind of theft. We know it's not "magic," but "that doesn't change the fact that this kind of crime doesn't feel wholly real either." Instead of burglars' tools, we're stuck with the ether. "We will likely be feeling the damage from this catastrophe for years to come," writes Goldberg. "Perhaps in the process we'll learn to take these attacks more seriously the next time they happen." Click for his full column.