"Alexa, show me an example of someone who clearly doesn't understand how cyber operations work."
Let's go, point by point:
1. A compound, effects-inducing computer network attack (CNA) operation to take down our electrical grid is not "a few mouse clicks" or a "few seconds" of work. And the US clearly has the ability to retaliate, suggesting potential deterrents.
2. The failure of the Florida water treatment hack to manifest impacts on the population wasn't based on luck. The actor clearly did not know how to mitigate other safeguards that would've backed up the employee who detected the changes.
3. If you ask me, the fact that recent supply chain compromise activity allegedly leveraged US-based infrastructure is the kind of detail that only talking heads who are ignorant of how both intel collection and malicious activity detection work would freak out about.
3-1. Yes, US-based infrastructure does limit USG collection on that infrastructure. But our intel collection enterprise is focused on foreign actors - the ideal goal is for HUMINT/SIGINT is to find such ops in their planning stages, but whatever.
4. Ah finally we reached the "bUt wHaT iF iT hAd BeEn DeStRuCtiv3?" straw man, where those who don't understand how operations work decide to frame demonstrable CNE as potential CNA to get attention and spread FUD.
4-1. IMHO if you know what to look for, there are reasonably higher-fidelity indicators to enable you to differentiate between CNE/CNA intent in activity. USG has said "we believe this was, and continues to be, an intelligence gathering effort."
5. "we need to be hardening our defenses now and offering a credible deterrent"

I agree on the defense point, actually. But as to the deterrent point -- CNA is the maybe the only place where we can hope to, and may already have, deterred peer-targeting.
6. The call to action towards the end of this piece is actually pretty reasonable. But the argument it makes to get there is based on FUD and a misrepresentation of how adversaries conduct cyber operations. I'm all for better defense, but let's get there grounded in reality.

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More from @WylieNewmark

22 Feb
name a more iconic duo, i’ll wait
ritter checks his watch almost immediately during ryan’s briefing. powerful DDO energy.
his first line, dismissively delivered to a bewildered and grieving POTUS: “Nothing exotic, sir. Straight piracy and murder. It’s not the first time.”

the stones on this guy.
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10 Feb
Happening right now -- already deeply pleased to hear Sue Gordon advocate greater intelligence sharing w/r/t the intent of hostile cyber actors and the necessity of "ruthlessly bringing [malicious activity] into the light."
homeland.house.gov/activities/hea…
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This kind of thing is not going to fly. A demonstrable intelligence failure - especially when social media tracking published by outlets like Bellingcat and BuzzFeed News make clear that if you wanted to collect on this via those platforms, you could just open wide and scoop....
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22 Dec 20
While the first installment of this series focused on how China identified and redressed core issues in its counterintelligence posture, the second primarily shows the consequences of that reversal: namely, a reduction in insight available from intelligence for USG. (1/5)
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Read 6 tweets
22 Aug 20
Given that Debbins appears to be a "true believer" in the cause of Russian nationalism, his public commentaries on security matters offer a unique pool of data against which to evaluate his thinking and actions.
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web.archive.org/web/2015040420…
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web.archive.org/web/2020082121…
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30 Jul 20
"espionage norms are such a weird nuanced place, that, it amazes me that people think cyber espionage can have a regular old norms framework" - @jckichen

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