NSA has done more to undermine US banking, commercial communications and computer products than any foreign power could ever have dreamed of, Robert Steele, former CIA case officer and co-founder of the US Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, told RT.
RT: Edward Snowden has revealed that Syria's internet blackout in 2012 was caused by the NSA, as they attempted to hack into one of the country's internet providers. What does this new leak tell us about the NSA's reach?
Robert Steele: Yes, they are, but I would refer you to the book by Mark Bowden on the first digital world war. Mark, whom I know personally, does a really excellent job showing that all the real expertise is outside the US government. In fact I am using Kaspersky on my computer, because the US security people are totally incompetent. NSA is not really competent, it is good at one thing and one thing only, and that is spending a great deal of money and subsidizing foreign intelligence services. It is not good at signals intelligence. And it's also not good at cyber. There is a very important comment I do want to make - under the putative oversight of James Clapper and Mike Vickers the NSA has done more to undermine US banking and commercial communications and US computer products from IBM, Dell, and Microsoft etc. They have done more to undermine those than any foreign power could ever have dreamed of. NSA has been the greatest enemy of American communications and computing security in history.
RT: Media wars a long time ago became a reality. Are cyber wars the latest type of conflict to actually come true?
RS: I think you should really go back to the Y2K example. These are overhyped. The internet is vastly more distributed and vastly more firewalled and self-healing than most people realize. There is a great deal we can do to radically improve the security and sustainability of the internet. By and large cyber wars in my view are a way the governments waste money. As a former spy, when I was meeting terrorists or I was doing operations in terrorism and everything had to be recorded I would absolute guarantee that for every four hours of meeting you would have 16 hours of work processing, the tapes and everything, and you would maybe get one minute to two minutes for really useful stuff. There is no substitute for human intelligence and the human factor, and that is what all of my work for these past years has been focused on. US intelligence has become overly technical, overly expensive and very, very stupid.
RT: According to Snowden, the NSA runs a "MonsterMind" program designed to prevent foreign cyber-attacks and strike back without oversight. Could the software potentially hurt civilians?
RS: The NSA program will not work, the way most NSA programs do not work. NSA is good at spending money to collect information and store it at a great expense to the taxpayer. It is not good at processing. It stinks at cyber-attacks. In fact the cyber command is one of the most worthless commands in the US government inventory. It is staffed by reservists that sit around and surf the internet and do not actually know what they are doing. And that is from the people inside. But the real problem is that NSA can break things in cyberspace. NSA is also a subsidiary of the Zionist state. Israel has managed to completely co-opt NSA, and when I say Israel I say Zionist, it's not loyal American Jews and the loyal Jewish people in Israel that do not want their government to be doing evil no more than we Americans want our government to do any evil. The NSA is essentially a very, very big dinosaur with a very small brain, and when it wags its tail it hurts everybody. And what we have learned recently from revelations in the Washington Post is that primary damage and surveillance the NSA is doing is against American citizens, not Angela Merkel.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.