Shelby: Cockroaches that carry cameras into the tiniest spaces, robotic hummingbirds that can fly and spy, and mechanical jellyfish that can monitor the oceans. They might sound like weapons straight out of a James Bond movie, but these high-tech devices actually exist!
Matthew Lanman: We’re in the cyber era. We’re in the time of technology. So everything we rely on is technology.
Shelby: That technology is changing the way we fight wars, collect information and defend ourselves from enemies – something these students learned at the LeadAmerica conference on national security
Giancarlo Troia: The biggest thing we talked about is probably cyber intelligence, which is all over the internet.
Chloe Maurice: Cyber intelligence and cyber security, cyber threats. As our world becomes more digitalized, we are going to have to adapt to that.
Shelby: Cyber war is a real threat. Today’s hackers could potentially take down a nation’s entire defense system, mess with financial markets or interrupt a major power grid.
Matthew: It’s no longer just finding out and hacking email to find out codes or passwords or secrets. It’s more, you can mess with the system.
Shelby: While no cyber war has ever been declared, security analysts believe that the U.S. has been involved in cyber warfare. We wanted to hear what the CIA had to say.
Is the CIA involved in keeping us safe from cyber attacks?
Justin Jackson: Absolutely. In fact, I’m glad you mentioned that. We really do put a lot of time, a lot of attention on protecting our cyber systems.
Shelby: What about engaging in cyber attacks?
Justin: You know, I can’t talk specifics because activities of the CIA would be classified, and we can’t discuss classified information. What we do is we follow the laws of the United States.
Shelby: We may never know for sure, but the Iranian government, along with some cyber experts, believe the U.S. and Israel were behind complex computer viruses known as Stuxnet and Flame. The viruses infected Iran’s computers and not only collected information, but also damaged systems that were part of Iran’s nuclear program.
Expert: What we’re seeing today is prepping the battlefield for 21st century warfare.
Shelby: Another way technology is changing the world of war is that it is keeping humans out of harm’s way by instead using remote controlled devices.
Drones can fly undetected, taking pictures and collecting intelligence, and they can cover large or remote areas where humans can’t go. Other unmanned vehicles, like robots that can carry heavy equipment and detect the presence of enemy soldiers, are already helping U.S. troops. And the government is constantly working on developing the next big thing.
Justin: Our Directorate of Science and Technology is really on the forefront of technological development. So, as the technologies used to protect the secrets of our adversaries evolve, our ability to defeat them must evolve.
Mark Stout: Aircrafts are getting smaller and smaller and smaller. And already, people are starting to talk about a little tiny insect-sized aircraft that can carry around a camera. So I wouldn’t be surprised if in thirty years from now, the U.S. intelligence community will have, you know, a fleet of things that look like bumblebees, but which are spy sensors.
Shelby: As our airplanes, gadgets and devices advance, our power expands. So, how should they be used? And who should be able to use them? Those are questions that America’s current and future leaders must address.
Why do you want to be a future leader of intelligence?
Giancarlo: You’re not just servicing your country, but you’re servicing the world.
Matthew: I kind of want to get into it to help America as much as I can.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.
- How is technology changing the way the U.S. defends itself from its enemies?
- What kind of damage could a cyber attack inflict on the U.S.?
- How is the CIA protecting the U.S. from cyber attacks?
- Do you think the U.S. was involved in the cyber attack on Iran’s computer systems?
- How are drones and other unmanned vehicles collecting information for the CIA?
- What is the next big trend in the technology used by the intelligence community?
- What are some of the questions facing the present and future leaders of the U.S. intelligence community?