Blast From The Past: Pet Sock Puppets, Windows ’98 And Dick Clarke On Cyber Apocalypse

Wired has it about right re Clarke’s new book on our looming cyber Pearl Harbor. We’ve mentioned before our work on these issues including with industry. Clarke then was the Cyber Czar on the Clinton Administration NSC staff (and again when he asked Cher Condi to move from terrorism back to cyber issues).

We winced back in the early/mid 2000s when Clarke temporarily became a liberal lion (in the sense that Wilkerson clings to even today, with baffling success). True, he offered useful testimony about the regime’s incompetence. At a time when Everyone Knew that Bush was steely eyed tough, ably assisted by the chic Warrior Princess. But those who worked on issues involving him before in polite company quietly would hear or mutter the word ‘eccentric.’ After some tequila, it became flat out ‘ain’t right.’ Even close colleagues.

A Terrorist Could Hijack Our 56k Modems Block The 'You've Got Mail' Voice - Imagine The Chaos

A cyber book makes sense for Clarke seeking to rebuild a marketable brand. He’s on the outside even with a Democratic Administration. His anti-terrorism perspective is considerably less vital today, two administrations later. His access? Not quite meh. Neither is it white card (carte blanche) unique. The tech industry, by contrast, self renews through Moore’s Law/software innovation. And other nations are and will continue to catch up to American technical expertise. Together it’s a much more verdant environment for cultivating clients. With terrorism, in some quarters he’s radioactive. With cyber it’s more on the ‘eccentric’.

The book reads like a geek ‘bodice ripper’. Or a self-branding business development exercise. Everyone in D.C. does that so he’s mainstream there. It’s just odd to hear in 2010 what he was saying 100% verbatim in 1998 with the same certainty of imminent doom. When AOL was king and everyone had dial-up.


  1. Comment says

    Actually don’t know if Clarke ignores that stuff – just read the review, not the book.

  2. Comment says

    Clarke ignores the most important thing – the politics of explaining cyber security and the economic trade offs. Right now every potential adversary would do better to begin any attack by setting off all our off shore oil wells. Can you imagine how bad that would be? Total mess – then the antiquated grid. Followed by another short sale of synthetic CDOs.

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