- North Korea holds election: 100% turnout, Kim Jong-un gets — 100% of vote
- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
Panetta fears ‘another Pearl Harbor’ in cyberattack
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Wednesday that a cyberattack on the United States could cause "another Pearl Harbor" by blacking out private and government electric power grids and throwing the nation into a panic.
"I think the more this technology develops, the more the will to potentially use it is going to take place," he testified before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense. "I think there's a high risk."
Mr. Panetta said U.S. private and public sectors are targets of hundreds of thousands of attacks every day.
"I'm very concerned at the potential in [cyberwarfare] to be able to cripple our power grid, to be able to cripple our government systems, to be able to cripple our financial systems," he said.
"It would virtually paralyze this country. And as far as I'm concerned, that represents the potential for another Pearl Harbor, as far as the kind of attack that we could be the target of, using [cyberwarfare]."
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that the Defense Department needs to develop rules of engagement for cyberspace.
"These things occur at network speed," he told the committee. "This is not something where we can afford to, you know, convene a study after someone has knocked out the East Coast power grid."
Mr. Panetta and Gen. Dempsey also warned lawmakers that the looming "sequestration" defense cuts would be disastrous for the nation's military preparedness.
The automatic cuts, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 2 if Democrats and Republicans fail to come up with a long-term budget solution, would cost the Pentagon about $500 billion in projected spending over 10 years on top of the $492 billion that President Obama and congressional Republicans already agreed to in last summer's deficit-cutting budget.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CPAC 2014: Straw poll signals Paul-Cruz showdown
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Spoiled-kid culture creates greedy adults
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- As Ukraine falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again