Rachel Marsden
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Anyone who has seen the latest James Bond film, "Skyfall," would be hard-pressed to find any traditional espionage tradecraft. More actual spying would have meant less of Daniel Craig running around in a too-tight suit chasing bad guys. When the villain -- in this case a cyberterrorist played masterfully by Javier Bardem -- is able to turn around and say to Bond, "Why are you doing all this running around and wasting your energy?", anyone who knows anything about real spying is tempted to yell at the screen, "Because the script is garbage and there is no espionage written into this movie!" Bond's ineptitude when faced with technology is a brilliant, if unintentional, commentary on society's lack of readiness for spying's shift into that realm.

From an intelligence perspective, the biggest threat facing America and the Western world today isn't conventional terrorism -- it's the abundance of information and the increased access to it. The fail-safe? Only the conscience of the person with access. And when profit is a motive, neither a conscience nor competence can simply be taken for granted. Yet the intelligence industry is inserting profit motives everywhere -- starting with hiring kids fresh off their probationary period at McDonald's.

Great Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced that the country's intelligence services will give up to 100 18-year-olds a chance to try their talents as cyberspies and a career waging cyber warfare against internet criminals. Employing kids barely out of diapers to work for national spy agencies should turn out well. What could possibly go wrong if they have the "skillz," right? Maybe mummy and daddy can write them a letter of reference saying how the job with MI6 will help top-up little Pembroke's weekly allowance. They can add that he has been a responsible and mature boy ever since he was caught charging a small fortune in online pornography directly to the Bank of England through a special program he created. At least the recruitment will serve to stem the brain drain of cyberspecialists to the private sector -- where they're now doing who-knows-what for who-knows-who.

Similarly, American intelligence agencies like the National Security Administration have set up cyberespionage programs like the one at the University of Tulsa which, as London's Daily Mail reports, "places 85 percent of graduates with the NSA or CIA." And the other 15 percent end up where, exactly? Freelancing? For whom exactly? For a guy like the Javier Bardem character in "Skyfall"?
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Rachel Marsden

Rachel Marsden is a columnist with Human Events Magazine, and Editor-In-Chief of GrandCentralPolitical News Syndicate.
 
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