Trump: Hacking, Couriers, Assange, Tweeting, and the “Age of Computer”

Trump:  Hacking, Couriers, Assange, Tweeting, and the “Age of Computer”

President-elect Trump is still trying to deny and deflect criticism that Russian hacking and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks publication of John Podesta’s emails, the DNC emails, and the DNCC’s emails had an advantage for Trump.

To start, Trump has cast doubt on the US’s essential intelligence services, which are super sophisticated:  he claims that they had delayed a briefing to build a better case on Russian hacking; he trusts Assange as a more credible source; he blames the DNC and DNCC and Podesta for getting hacked; he said he never uses emails or computers, but couriers; he has not commented that Republicans and states were hacked; and he has said that all computers can be hacked, in this “Age of Computer”.   Where to start tearing all of this down?  I will settle for a few points.

It is ironic that on essentially the same day that Trump criticizes Congress for voting to lessen their ethics oversight, Trump embraces Assange, who violated laws by publishing hacked emails, and is in diplomatic asylum to avoid a rape trial.

Let’s start with couriers.  Can you imagine Washington D.C. streets, and now 5th Ave. New York City being flooded by an army of couriers, presumably in Black Lincoln SUVs full of security, racing around with every Trump, or Pence, or RNC communication?  Also, please recall the discovery in 2001, that Robert Hanssen, liaison between the FBI and the Dept. of State since 1995, every day, was selling secrets to Moscow since 1985.  If Trump institutes courier delivery, I hope I am not then indulging national security by reporting that Google quotes the distance from Trump Tower N.Y. to the White House as 232 miles, taking 3 hours 56 minutes by the NJ Turnpike and I-95 S.  Not quite as fast as email.  From the Mar-a-Lago Club, or “White House South”, the drive of 991 miles takes 14 hours and 31 minutes, via I-95 N, or they could fly.  Best for overnight messages.

If Trump wants all classified messages of everybody sent by courier, we should point out that 1.4 million Americans have top secret clearance, and an extra 3.5 million have lower levels of clearance.  That’s a lot of cars and gasoline a day to deliver to all of them.

Fortunately for us, Trump does not use a computer, but has his assistants handle all of that.  Otherwise, like Podesta’s computer manager, he would have fallen prey to a phishing attack.  Can you imagine what Trump would do if an “African Prince” offered him a million dollars to launder the Prince’s funds in Trump’s bank account?

The Department of Energy, to which Trump has appointed untrained, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, gives out $34 million in grants for cybersecurity protection for the electric grid and oil and gas infrastructure.  Let’s hope that Perry or Trump increases, rather than abolishes, this agency.  The rest of us who use computers, as well as the entire finances, businesses, and infrastructure services in the US rely on this protection.

President Obama, has proposed $19 billion for the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) for the 2017 budget.  This is a 35% increase in cybersecurity spending from the FY 2016 budget.

Many writers and commentators have expressed fears as to what Trump will get us involved in if he does not trust our intelligence services, or our experts in Administration Departments, but instead some unknown others who claim extraordinary knowledge of what is going on, as does Trump himself.  This denial by Trump of expert knowledge is a serious mental disorder of our new President, and a challenge for Republicans both in the Administration and the Congress to contain, as well as his close family.

Trump’s tweeting about US security matters without apparently consulting the Departments of State, or Defense, or the Department of Energy, which manages our nuclear arsenal, is the most serious breach of our security that has occurred in recent years.  Trump is still not our President yet.  And Trump’s spokespersons really cannot give a reasonable interpretation of what Trump meant, or justify his tweets.  Since iPhones are not considered that secure, and Trump has favored Apple giving its security secrets to the government, he is going to have to learn how to tweet from a secure blackberry, and use a secure computer system.

Trump’s “Age of Computer” is now pervasive in our society, and is only going to increase as we rapidly gain symbiosis with computers to expand our capabilities.  Automatic driving cars are rapidly approaching, and children and even babies are now being entertained by the iPad and iPhone revolution.  It’s naïve of me to point out that Trump’s world of his largely autopiloted jet plane, his hotel business with computerized reservation and finances, our national defenses, and the whole government apparatus that he soon will be responsible for, rely on computers and cybersecurity.


About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2016 Election, Affairs of State, Communications, Cybersecurity, Donald Trump, Secrecy, US Intelligence Agencies. Bookmark the permalink.

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