LAW AND NATIONAL SECURITY

Former DOJ official John Carlin discusses book on cyberwar

Countries like North Korea, China, Iran and Russia have found a way to attack the United States in the only arena where they can compete and where we are vulnerable: cyberspace. John P. Carlin, former assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, calls it a code war. 

John P. Carlin, former Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division

John P. Carlin, former Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division

Carlin, who also served in 2009 as chief of staff to then-FBI director Robert S. Mueller,  discussed his new book “Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat” at a Dec. 4 breakfast meeting hosted by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security in Washington, D.C.

The book tells the inside story of terrorist Junaid Hussain, a Pakistani living in England, who used technology to carry out cybercrimes around the world, and explores today’s global fight waged by the Department of Justice and the FBI. Carlin believes “effective action is possible” against cyber threats but says it requires a shift in our mindset. “I believe that fundamentally we can’t succeed in this new code war unless the American people know when we’re hit, and that businesses know when they’re hit.”

Carlin says as the U.S. economy becomes more digital, potential targets multiply and the threat grows. He also believes the growth of internet-connected devices – from pacemakers to self-driving cars – potentially pose a national security threat that needs to be addressed by the private sector as well as government. 

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