Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Annual Threat Assessment

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    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Annual Threat Assessment

    Excerpts form:
    Annual Threat Assessment of the
    Intelligence Community
    for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

    12 February 2009

    The primary near-term security concern of the United States is the global economic crisis
    and its geopolitical implications. The crisis has been ongoing for over a year, and economists are
    divided over whether and when we could hit bottom. Some even fear that the recession could
    further deepen and reach the level of the Great Depression. Of course, all of us recall the
    dramatic political consequences wrought by the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s in
    Europe, the instability, and high levels of violent extremism. Though we do not know its
    eventual scale, it already looms as the most serious global economic and financial crisis in

    Time is probably our greatest threat. The longer it takes for the recovery to begin, the
    greater the likelihood of serious damage to US strategic interests. Roughly a quarter of the
    countries in the world have already experienced low-level instability such as government
    changes because of the current slowdown. Europe and the former Soviet Union have
    experienced the bulk of the anti-state demonstrations. Although two-thirds of countries in the
    world have sufficient financial or other means to limit the impact for the moment, much of Latin
    America, former Soviet Union states and sub-Saharan Africa lack sufficient cash reserves, access
    to international aid or credit, or other coping mechanism. Statistical modeling shows that
    economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they persist over a one to
    two year period. Besides increased economic nationalism, the most likely political fallout for US
    interests will involve allies and friends not being able to fully meet their defense and
    humanitarian obligations. Potential refugee flows from the Caribbean could also impact
    Homeland security.

    The dramatic decline in oil prices—more than a two-thirds decline from the July peak of
    $147 per barrel—is partially a result of the market betting on a deep and perhaps protracted
    global recession. A serious supply crunch is possible down the road if sustained low prices lead
    to major cuts or delays in investment by national and international oil companies, especially high
    cost unconventional oil sources like oil sands. Nevertheless, lower prices benefit consumers, and
    declining revenues may put the squeeze on the adventurism of producers like Iran and

    The crisis presents many challenges for the United States. It started in the United States,
    quickly spread to other industrial economies and then, more recently, to emerging markets. The
    widely held perception that excesses in US financial markets and inadequate regulation were
    responsible has increased criticism about free market policies, which may make it difficult to
    achieve long-time US objectives, such as the opening of national capital markets and increasing
    domestic demand in Asia. It already has increased questioning of US stewardship of the global
    economy and the international financial structure.

    I next want to focus on extremist groups that use terrorism. The groups with the greatest
    capability to threaten are extremist Muslim groups. In 2008 terrorists did not achieve their goal
    of conducting another major attack in the US Homeland. We have seen notable progress in
    Muslim opinion turning against terrorist groups like al-Qa’ida. Over the last year and a half, al-
    Qa’ida has faced significant public criticism from prominent religious leaders and fellow
    extremists primarily regarding the use of brutal and indiscriminate tactics—particularly those
    employed by al Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) and al-Qa’ida in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)—
    that have resulted in the deaths of Muslim civilians. Given the increased pressure posed by these
    criticisms, al-Qa’ida leaders increasingly have highlighted enduring support for the Taliban and
    the fight in Afghanistan and Pakistan and in other regions where they portray the West being at
    war with Islam and al-Qa’ida as the vanguard of the global terrorist movement. A broad array of
    Muslim countries is nevertheless having success in stemming the rise of extremism and
    attractiveness of terrorist groups. No major country is at immediate risk of collapse at the hands
    of extremist, terrorist groups, although a number—such as Pakistan and Afghanistan—have to
    work hard to repulse a still serious threat. In the next section I will discuss at length the
    challenges facing us in Pakistan and Afghanistan where militant have gained some traction
    despite the successes against al-Qa’ida.
    Because of the pressure we and our allies have put on al-Qa’ida’s core leadership in
    Pakistan and the continued decline of al-Qa’ida’s most prominent regional affiliate in Iraq, al-
    Qa’ida today is less capable and effective than it was a year ago.
    In Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), al-Qa’ida lost significant
    parts of its command structure since 2008 in a succession of blows as damaging to the group as
    any since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001. Key leaders killed over the past year include
    Khalid Habib, al-Qa’ida’s military chief and the fourth man in its chain of command; Abu Layth
    al-Libi, who directed cross-border attacks against our forces in Afghanistan and was a rising star
    in the organization; Abu Khabab al-Masri, the group’s leading expert on explosives and chemical
    attacks and a driving force behind its terrorist plotting against the US Homeland and Europe; and
    Usama al-Kini who was involved in the bombings of our Embassies in East Africa in 1998 and
    later became the chief planner of al-Qa’ida’s terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
    • The loss of these and many other leaders in quick succession has made it more difficult for
    al-Qa’ida to identify replacements, and in some cases the group has had to promote more
    junior figures considerably less skilled and respected than the individuals they are replacing.
    Sustained pressure against al-Qa’ida in the FATA has the potential to further degrade its
    organizational cohesion and diminish the threat it poses. If forced to vacate the FATA and locate
    elsewhere, the group would be vulnerable to US or host-country security crackdowns as well as
    local resistance, and probably would be forced to adopt an even more dispersed, clandestine
    structure, making training and operational coordination more difficult. Without access to its
    FATA safehaven, al-Qa’ida also undoubtedly would have greater difficulty supporting the
    Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. It is conceivable al-Qa’ida could relocate elsewhere in South
    Asia, the Gulf, or parts of Africa where it could exploit a weak central government and close
    proximity to established recruitment, fundraising, and facilitation networks, but we judge none of these locations would be as conducive to their operational needs as their location in the FATA.

    The social, political, and economic integration of Western Europe’s 15 to 20 million
    Muslims is progressing slowly, creating opportunities for extremist propagandists and recruiters.
    The highly diverse Muslim population in Europe already faces much higher poverty and
    unemployment rates than the general population, and the current economic crisis almost certainly
    will disproportionately affect the region’s Muslims. Numerous worldwide and European Islamic
    groups are actively encouraging Muslims in Europe to reject assimilation and support militant
    versions of Islam. Successful social integration would give most ordinary Muslims a stronger
    political and economic stake in their countries of residence, even though better educational and
    economic opportunities do not preclude radicalization among a minority. Visible progress
    toward an Arab-Israeli settlement, along with stability in Iraq and Afghanistan, would help
    undercut radicals’ appeal to Muslim foreign policy grievances.

    We judge any homegrown extremists in the United States do not yet rise to the numerical
    level or exhibit the operational tempo or proficiency we have seen in Western Europe. A range
    of factors inside the United States may contribute to a lower incidence of homegrown cells
    developing. Nevertheless, we remain concerned about the potential for homegrown extremists
    inspired by al-Qa’ida’s militant ideology to plan attacks inside the United States, Europe, and
    elsewhere without operational direction from the group itself. In this regard, over the next year
    we will remain focused on identifying any ties between US-based individuals and extremist
    networks overseas. Though difficult to measure, the spread of radical Salafi Internet sites that
    provide religious justification for attacks; aggressive and violent anti-Western rhetoric; and signs
    that self-generating cells in the US identify with Bin Ladin’s violent objectives all point to the
    likelihood that a small but violent number of cells may develop here.

    Iran’s longstanding foreign policy goals are to preserve the Islamic regime, safeguard
    Iran’s sovereignty, defend its nuclear ambitions, and expand its influence in the region and the
    Islamic world. Iranian leaders perceive that regional developments—including the removal of
    Saddam and the Taliban, challenges facing the Untied States in Iraq and Afghanistan, the
    increased influence of HAMAS and Hizballah, and, until recently, higher oil revenues—have
    given Tehran more opportunities and freedom to pursue its objective of becoming a regional
    power. This perception has produced a more assertive Iranian foreign policy in which Tehran
    has focused on expanding ties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Levant to better influence and exploit regional political, economic, and security developments. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapon
    capability is another element in its more assertive foreign policy—an aspect that I will discuss
    later. In Tehran, Iran’s conservative faction continues to dominate the government. Supreme
    Leader Khamenei has consolidated political power in his office, but his reliance on hardline
    conservative elements—the IRGC, war veterans turned politicians such as President Mahmud
    Ahmadi-Nejad, and selected clerics—to bolster his authority has upset the earlier factional
    balance in Iranian politics.

    Although the regime still comprises many competing factions, only those that support the
    concept of a powerful Supreme Leader and advocate revolutionary values now have a
    significant voice in decisionmaking.
    President Ahmadi-Nejad faces less than certain prospects for reelection in June because
    his management of the economy and aggressive foreign policy rhetoric have become sources of
    significant domestic criticism and political friction. Ahmadi-Nejad’s economic policies have
    reduced unemployment marginally, but have fueled significant inflation, providing his critics
    ample ammunition to question his competence. The sharp fall in global oil prices will add to
    Iran’s economic problems, but Tehran has a substantial cushion of foreign reserves to support
    social and other spending priorities. Less energy revenues may also help to dampen its foreign
    policy adventurism.

    Militarily, Iran continues to strengthen the three pillars of its strategic deterrence:
    surface-to-surface missiles, long-range rockets and aircraft for retaliation; naval forces to disrupt
    maritime traffic through key waterways; and unconventional forces and surrogates to conduct
    worldwide lethal operations. Although many of their statements are exaggerations, Iranian
    officials throughout the past year have repeatedly claimed both greater ballistic missile
    capabilities that could threaten US and allied interests and the ability to close the Strait of
    Hormuz using unconventional small boat operations, anti-ship cruise missiles, and other naval
    systems. Some officials, such as Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Major General
    Mohammad Ali Jafari-Najafabadi, have hinted that Iran would have a hand in attacks on
    “America’s interests even in far away places,” suggesting Iran has contingency plans for
    unconventional warfare and terrorism against the United States and its allies.
    Iran’s goals in Iraq include preventing the emergence of a threat from Iraqi territory,
    either from the government of Iraq itself, or from the United States. To achieve this, Iran
    probably seeks a government in Baghdad in which Tehran’s Shia allies hold the majority of
    political, economic, and security power. Iran also has sought to make the United States suffer
    political, economic, and human costs in order to limit US engagement in the region and to ensure
    that Washington does not maintain a permanent military presence in Iraq or use its military to
    pressure or attack Iran.

    Iranian efforts to secure influence in Iraq encompass a wide range of activities, including
    using propaganda, providing humanitarian assistance, building commercial and economic
    ties, and supporting Shia elements fighting the Coalition. Iran has provided a variety of Shia
    militants with lethal support including weapons, funding, training, logistical and operational
    support, and intelligence training.
    • We judge Iran will continue to calibrate its lethal aid to Iraqi Shia militants based on the
    threat it perceives from US forces in Iraq, the state of US-Iran relations, Tehran’s fear of a
    Ba’thist resurgence, Tehran’s desire to help defend Iraqi Shia against sectarian violence, and
    to maintain the ability to play a spoiler role in Iraq if Iran perceives the government of Iraq
    has become a strategic threat.
    • Despite Tehran’s efforts, we judge Iraqi nationalism and the growing capabilities of the Iraqi
    government will limit Iranian influence in Iraq. Baghdad, for example, signed the US-Iraq
    security agreement despite Iranian opposition.

    In Afghanistan, Iran has focused on promoting a friendly central government in Kabul
    and limiting Western power and influence. Iran’s policy in Afghanistan follows multiple tracks,
    including providing political and economic support to the Karzai government and developing
    relationships with actors across the political spectrum.
    • Iran has opposed Afghan reconciliation talks with the Taliban as risking an increase in the
    group’s influence and legitimacy.
    • We judge Iran distrusts the Taliban and opposes its return to power but uses the provision of
    lethal aid as a way to pressure Western forces, gather intelligence, and build ties that could
    protect Iran’s interests if the Taliban regains control of the country.
    In the Levant, Tehran is focused on building influence in Lebanon and expanding the
    capability of key allies. Tehran continues to support groups such as Hizballah, HAMAS, and
    Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which it views as integral to its efforts to challenge Israeli and
    Western influence in the Middle East.
    • Hizballah is the largest recipient of Iranian financial aid, training, and weaponry, and Iran’s
    senior leadership has cited Hizballah as a model for other militant groups. We assess Tehran
    has continued to provide Hizballah with significant amounts of funding, training, and
    weapons since the 2006 conflict with Israel, increasing the group’s capabilities to pressure
    other Lebanese factions and to threaten Israel.
    • Iran’s provision of training, weapons, and money to HAMAS since the 2006 Palestinian
    elections has bolstered the group’s ability to strike Israel and oppose the Palestinian

    Iranian Nuclear and Missile Programs. The Iranian regime continues to flout UN
    Security Council restrictions on its nuclear programs. There is a real risk that its nuclear
    program will prompt other countries in the Middle East region to pursue nuclear options
    conducive to the development of nuclear weapons, and the advent of additional nuclear weapons
    programs might lead countries in other regions to reassess their nuclear options.
    I want to be very clear in characterizing the Iranian nuclear program. First, there are
    three key parts to an effective nuclear weapons capability:
    (1) Production of fissile material,
    (2) Effective means for weapon delivery, and
    (3) Design, weaponization, and testing of the warhead itself.
    We assessed in our 2007 NIE on this subject that Iran’s nuclear weapon design and
    weaponization work was halted in fall 2003, along with its covert uranium conversion and
    enrichment-related activities. Declared uranium enrichment efforts were suspended in 2003 but
    resumed in January 2006 and will enable Iran to produce weapons-usable fissile material if it
    chooses to do so. Development of medium-range ballistic missiles, inherently capable of
    delivering nuclear weapons, has continued unabated.
    We assess Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop
    nuclear weapons until fall 2003. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical
    capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision were made to do
    • Iran continues its efforts to develop uranium enrichment technology, which can be used both
    to produce low-enriched uranium for power reactor fuel and to produce highly enriched
    uranium for nuclear weapons.
    • As noted, Iran continues to deploy and improve ballistic missiles inherently capable of
    delivering nuclear weapons.
    • We assess Iran since fall 2003 has conducted research and development projects with
    commercial and conventional military applications, some of which would be of limited use
    for nuclear weapons.
    We judge in fall 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons design and weaponization
    activities and that the halt lasted at least several years. We assess Tehran had not restarted these
    activities as of at least mid-2007. Although we do not know whether Iran currently intends to
    develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop
    We judge the halt was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny
    and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work. This
    indicates Iran may be more susceptible to influence on the issue than we had judged in the 2005
    National Intelligence Estimate.
    We do not have sufficient intelligence reporting to judge confidently whether Tehran is
    willing to maintain indefinitely the halt of its previously enumerated nuclear weapons-related
    activities while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or
    criteria that will prompt it to restart those activities. We assess Iran has the scientific, technical,
    and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons. In our judgment, only an Iranian
    political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep Iran from
    eventually producing nuclear weapons—and such a decision is inherently reversible. I reiterate
    that two activities of the three relevant to a nuclear weapons capability continue: development of
    uranium enrichment technology that will enable production of fissile material, if Iran chooses to
    do so, and development of nuclear-capable ballistic missile systems.
    We assess convincing the Iranian leadership to forgo the eventual development of nuclear
    weapons will be difficult given the linkage many within the leadership see between nuclear
    weapons and Iran’s key national security and foreign policy objectives, and given Iran’s
    considerable effort from at least the late 1980s to 2003 to develop such weapons. Our analysis
    suggests that some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures,
    along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security and goals might—if perceived by Iran’s
    leaders as credible—prompt Tehran to extend the halt to the above nuclear weapons-related
    activities. It is difficult to specify what such a combination might be.
    We continue to assess Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon. We continue to
    assess Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material but still judge it
    has not obtained enough for a nuclear weapon. We cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from
    abroad or will acquire in the future a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon.
    Barring such acquisitions, if Iran wants to have nuclear weapons it would need to produce
    sufficient amounts of fissile material indigenously. We judge it has not yet done so.
    Iran made significant progress in 2007 and 2008 installing and operating centrifuges at its
    main centrifuge enrichment plant, Natanz. We judge Iran probably would be technically capable
    of producing enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon sometime during the 2010-
    2015 time frame. INR judges Iran is unlikely to achieve this capability before 2013 because of
    foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.
    Iranian Missile Threat. Beyond its WMD potential, Iranian conventional military power
    threatens Persian Gulf states and challenges US interests. Iran is enhancing its ability to project
    its military power, primarily with ballistic missiles and naval power, with the goal of dominating
    the Gulf region and deterring potential adversaries. It seeks a capacity to disrupt the operations
    and reinforcement of US forces based in the region, potentially intimidating regional allies into
    withholding support for US policy, and raising the political, financial, and human costs to the
    United States and our allies of our presence.
    • Iran’s growing inventory of ballistic missiles—it already has the largest inventory in the
    Middle East—and its acquisition of anti-ship cruise missiles provide capabilities to enhance
    its power projection. Tehran views its conventionally armed missiles as an integral part of its
    strategy to deter and if necessary retaliate against forces in the region, including US forces.
    Its ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD and if so armed would fit into
    this same strategy.
    The Terrorist CBRN Threat. Over the coming years, we will continue to face a
    substantial threat, including in the US Homeland, from terrorists attempting to acquire
    biological, chemical, and possibly nuclear weapons and use them to conduct large-scale attacks.
    Conventional weapons and explosives will continue to be the most often used instruments of
    destruction in terrorist attacks; however, terrorists who are determined to develop CBRN
    capabilities will have increasing opportunities to do so, owing to the spread of relevant
    technological knowledge and the ability to work with CBRN materials and designs in
    • Most terrorist groups that have shown some interest, intent, or capability to conduct CBRN
    attacks have pursued only limited, technically simple approaches that have not yet caused
    large numbers of casualties.
    In particular, we assess the terrorist use of biological agents represents a growing threat
    as the barriers to obtaining many suitable starter cultures are eroding and open source technical
    literature and basic laboratory equipment can facilitate production. Terrorist chemical attacks
    also represent a substantial threat. Small-scale chemical attacks using industrial toxins have been the most frequent type of CBRN attack to date. The chlorine attacks in Iraq from October 2006 through the summer of 2007 highlighted terrorist interest in using commercial and easily
    available toxic industrial chemicals as weapons.
    Al-Qa’ida is the terrorist group that historically has sought the broadest range of CBRN
    attack capabilities, and we assess that it would use any CBRN capability it acquires in an anti-US
    attack, preferably against the Homeland. There also is a threat of biological or chemical attacks
    in the US Homeland by lone individuals.

    The Growing Cyber and Organized Crime Threat
    Threats to the US Information Technology Infrastructure
    The US information infrastructure, including telecommunications and computer networks
    and systems, and the data that reside on them, is critical to virtually every aspect of modern life.
    Threats to our information technology infrastructure are an important focus of the Intelligence
    Community. As government, private sector, and personal activities continue to move to
    networked operations, as our digital systems add ever more capabilities, as wireless systems
    become even more ubiquitous, and as the design, manufacture, and service of information
    technology have moved overseas, the threat will continue to grow.
    This information and communications revolution also is enabling an unprecedented
    ability to spread ideas and influence large numbers of people. Nation-states and non-state groups
    are taking an increasing interest in the role of mass media in shaping international opinions.
    Terrorists will continue to be motivated to conduct spectacular attacks in part by the desire to
    achieve maximum media exposure for their cause. Increasing global connectivity is enabling
    radical groups to recruit and train new members, proliferate extremist ideologies, manage their
    finances, manipulate public opinion, and coordinate attacks. In the recent conflict in Gaza, for
    example, the media played an important role for both sides in shaping public perceptions of the
    conflict. We can expect future adversaries to similarly employ mass media in an attempt to
    constrain US courses of actions in a future crisis or conflict.
    Further, the growing connectivity between information systems, the Internet, and other
    infrastructures creates opportunities for attackers to disrupt telecommunications, electrical
    power, energy pipelines, refineries, financial networks, and other critical infrastructures. Over
    the past several years we have seen cyber attacks against critical infrastructures abroad, and
    many of our own infrastructures are as vulnerable as their foreign counterparts.
    • A successful cyber attack against a major financial service provider could severely impact
    the national economy, while cyber attacks against physical infrastructure computer systems
    such as those that control power grids or oil refineries have the potential to disrupt services
    for hours to weeks.
    Network defense technologies are widely available to mitigate threats but have not been
    uniformly adopted due to associated costs, perceived need, operational requirements, and
    regulatory constraints. This slow rate of adoption has allowed cyber attackers to keep up with
    many defensive advances. Meanwhile, advances in digital communications technology, such as
    the growth in wireless connectivity and the acceleration of network convergence with a variety
    data increasingly digitized and transmitted over the Internet, are creating new vulnerabilities in
    our networks and new avenues for cyber attacks.

    Malicious activity on the Internet also is rapidly increasing: spam—unsolicited email that
    can contain malicious software—now accounts for 81 percent of all email according to Message
    Labs (Symantec); the Georgia Tech Information Security Center projects a ten-fold increase in
    malicious software targeting data in the coming year; and botnets—networks of hijacked
    computers used to deliver spam or launch distributed denial of service attacks—are expected to
    compose 15 percent of all online computers in 2009. Ferris Research estimates that the total cost
    of spam and all of the types of fraud that take advantage of spam’s impact is $42 billion in the
    United States and $140 billion worldwide in last year, while McAfee estimates that global
    companies may have lost over $1 trillion worth of intellectual property to data theft in 2008.
    State and Non-State Threats. A growing array of state and non-state adversaries are
    increasingly targeting—for exploitation and potentially disruption or destruction—our
    information infrastructure, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer
    systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries. Over the past year, cyber
    exploitation activity has grown more sophisticated, more targeted, and more serious. The
    Intelligence Community expects these trends to continue in the coming year.
    We assess that a number of nations, including Russia and China, have the technical
    capabilities to target and disrupt elements of the US information infrastructure and for
    intelligence collection. Nation states and criminals target our government and private sector
    information networks to gain competitive advantage in the commercial sector. Terrorist groups,
    including al-Qa’ida, HAMAS, and Hizballah, have expressed the desire to use cyber means to
    target the United States. Criminal elements continue to show growing sophistication in technical
    capability and targeting and today operate a pervasive, mature on-line service economy in illicit
    cyber capabilities and services available to anyone willing to pay. Each of these actors has
    different levels of skill and different intentions; therefore, we must develop flexible capabilities
    to counter each. We must take proactive measures to detect and prevent intrusions from
    whatever source, as they happen, and before they can do significant damage.
    We expect disruptive cyber activities to be the norm in future political or military
    conflicts. The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and Web defacements that targeted
    Georgia in 2008 and Estonia in 2007 disrupted government, media, and banking Web sites.
    DDoS attacks and Web defacements targeted Georgian government Web sites, including that of
    Georgian President Saakishvili, intermittently disrupting online access to the official Georgian
    perspective of the conflict and some Georgian Government functions but did not affect military
    action. Such attacks have been a common outlet for hackers during political disputes over the
    past decade, including Israel’s military conflicts with Hizballah and HAMAS in 2006 and 2008,
    the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last year, the publication of cartoons caricaturing
    the Prophet Mohammed in 2005, and the Chinese downing of a US Navy aircraft in 2001.
    The Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. In January 2008, the
    Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) was adopted as national policy as part
    of National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23
    (NSPD-54/HSPD-23). With bipartisan support, Congress appropriated the vast majority of the
    CNCI funding request in the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing
    Appropriations Act of 2009.

    The CNCI addresses current cybersecurity threats, anticipates future threats and
    technologies, and develops a framework for creating in partnership with the private sector an
    environment that no longer favors cyber intruders over defenders. The CNCI includes defensive,
    offensive, education, research and development, and counterintelligence elements, while
    remaining sensitive throughout to the requirements of protecting the privacy rights and civil
    liberties of US citizens. The CNCI is now making considerable progress in building a better
    understanding of the cyber threat, developing concrete solutions, and approving detailed courses
    of action. The Adminstration is now reviewing CNCI, to ensure it is consistent with its own
    cybersecurity policy.
    To be sure, significant work remains in order to protect, defend, and respond to the cyber
    threat in a manner that markedly improves our nation’s overall security. Yet there is reason to be
    hopeful. We are witnessing an unprecedented unity of effort across a broad coalition of
    government agencies, members of Congress, and leaders of industry. To succeed, however, the
    CNCI must remain a long-term national priority. With sustained momentum and continued
    national resolve we can and will build an enduring security framework capable of protecting our
    vital national security, economic, and public health interests.
    We cannot afford to discover successful cyber intrusions after-the-fact, accept disastrous
    losses, and then seek merely to contain them. It requires a broad alliance of departments,
    agencies, and industry leaders to focus on countering the threat, mitigating vulnerabilities, and
    enhancing resiliency in order to preserve our national security, national economy, and public
    Growing Transnational Organized Crime Threat
    Most organized criminal activities increasingly involve either networks of interconnected
    criminal groups sharing expertise, skills, and resources in joint criminal ventures that transcend
    national boundaries or powerful, well-organized crime groups seeking to legitimize their image
    by investing in the global marketplace. Organized criminals and groups will increasingly pose a
    threat to US national security interests by enhancing the capabilities of terrorists and hostile
    Some organized crime networks, groups, and individuals also have invested in energy
    and mineral markets in an effort to diversify and legitimize their business activities. Criminals’
    coercive tactics, underhanded business practices, opaque motives, and self-serving loyalties can
    undermine the normal workings and integrity of these global markets. The most powerful, highprofile
    Eurasian criminal groups often form strategic alliances with senior political leaders and
    business tycoons and can operate from a relative safehaven status with little to fear of
    international arrest and prosecution. The leaders of many of these groups go to great lengths to
    portray themselves as legitimate businessmen and use front companies that give them more
    market access and leverage. They also employ some of the world’s best accountants, lawyers,
    bankers, and lobbyists to deflect and frustrate the efforts of authorities.

    The change in the structure and types of activities conducted by transnational criminal
    groups is making it increasingly difficult to identify and attack them. In particular, the
    increasing prevalence of loosely knit networks, the use of cyberspace and global financial
    systems, and political corruption have made it easier for them to hide their involvement, to
    thwart law enforcement efforts, and to create images of legitimacy.

    The international security environment is complex. No dominant adversary faces the
    United States that threatens our existence with military force, but the global financial crises has
    exacerbated what was already a growing set of political and economic uncertainties. We are
    nevertheless in a strong position to shape a world reflecting universal aspirations and values that
    have motivated Americans since 1776: human rights; the rule of law; liberal market economics
    and social justice. Whether we can succeed will depend on actions we take here at home—
    restoring strong economic growth and maintaining our scientific and technological edge and
    defending ourselves at reasonable cost in dollars without violating our civil liberties. It will also
    depend on our actions abroad, not only in how we deal with regions, regimes and crises, but also
    in developing new multilateral systems, formal or informal, for effective international
    cooperation in trade and finance, in neutralizing extremist groups using terrorism, in controlling
    the proliferation of WMD, developing codes of conduct for cyberspace and space, and in
    mitigating and slowing global climate change.

    Full report here:


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