An article in The Atlantic with the title “U.S. To Be Hit By Massive Cyber Attack On Feb. 16. Asterisk.” has set some readers to panic mode because they assumed it was true.
But what compelled the writer to choose such a title, and write an equally “pseudo-serious” lead in the article in which he says that “key players will convene in the White House situation room and plan the response, from mitigation to (possibly) retaliation,” was the fact that for the first time in U.S. history this type of worst-case scenario war-game will be presented on television.
Scheduled for February 16, at 10:00 am ET, this exercise will witness Washington’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel being transformed into a White House Sit Room; John Negroponte, the former Director of National Intelligence, filling the role of Secretary of State; Michael Chertoff, the ex DHS Secretary, as the National Security Adviser; the former White House Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend acting as the Secretary of DHS; and John McLaughlin, ex CIA deputy director, filling the shoes of the Director of National Intelligence.
As previously mentioned, the event will be recorded and broadcast by CNN a few days later. The former national security officials won’t be prepared in any way for what’s going to happen during this exercise which, according to The Atlantic writer, will be very dynamic and not easy to mitigate. The events will be unfolding according to a scenario written together by security experts and professional scriptwriters.
The coordination of this event is handled by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a non-profit organization established by former Senators “to develop and promote solutions that can attract public support and political momentum in order to achieve real progress.”
The goal of this simulated cyber attack – that goes by the title “Cyber ShockWave” – is to evaluate a possible government response to such an attack on the country’s vital infrastructure and, likely, to raise the nation’s awareness regarding the possibility of such occurrences.