When it comes to cyber attacks against Iran, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said you shouldn’t believe everything you read.
Rogers was asked at a conference Thursday to respond to recent media reports that the U.S. and Israel were behind the Stuxnet and Flame worms that targeted Iran’s nuclear program. “I would be very, very cautious about assigning any nation state originator to any of the things that you may have read in the paper, which I would argue there was as much wrong in those things as there ever was right in those particular stories,” Rogers said. “People are trying to assign it to people who they believe may have been the originator and, I think, more cases than not, they’re going to be wrong. And that starts a very dangerous speculation game that we’re all going to pay the price for.”
Rogers was asked by reporters to clarify his remarks after the event held by Bloomberg and the Center for Security Policy, but refused to go into further detail. He said the United States does not use offensive cyber weapons against other countries for one main reason — our privately-owned networks aren’t secure enough to withstand a potential cyber retaliation.
“I was always taught growing up in the playground, don’t throw the first punch unless you’re willing to take that fight all the way to the end. I’d be very cautious about using any offensive capability until our networks in America are better protected,” Rogers said. “Ninety-five percent of those networks out there are private networks. That’s part of the problem. If you’re going to offensively do something you better be darn careful that those networks can protect themselves and, I would argue today, that that’s probably not a good idea.”
Rogers said better information sharing between companies and between the public and private sector would go a long way toward closing off those network vulnerabilities.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.