Critical Infrastructure Vulnerabilities Constrain U.S. Freedom of Action

A few days ago I explained in the Washington Post how the vulnerabilities of our critical infrastructure like banks and the electric grid can affect a President’s freedom of action.  The New York Times had reported that Mr. Obama specifically asked our intel agencies whether the Russian hack of J.P. Morgan was Putin’s payback for sanctions over Ukraine — an no one could tell him.  The question and lack of answer implied that it could have been payback, and that our agencies do indeed think that Russian foreign intelligence services could do serious harm to our critical infrastructure.  Whether that attack was the work of a Russian criminal gang operating on its own or at the direction of the Kremlin, isn’t it clear by now that weaknesses in our critical infrastructure can constrain our freedom of action in international affairs?  I addressed this topic again today with KT McFarland on

Warlike network operations are important to contemplate, but visions of conflagrations, while they illuminate real risk, obscure the current state of affairs in which threats to our infrastructure can simply make us think twice or thrice before we act, or paralyze us.  I call this the grey space between war and peace, and we are in it.