Recent revelations from CNet News , showing a bill revised by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) giving the president emergency control of the internet, exploded on to the Dudge Report yesterday.: (all bolding below is mine)
The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
It is important to look back at some statements President Obama’s top enforcer in his administration made back in the days of the Clinton administration. Attorney General Eric Holder was known as Deputy Attorney General Holder in April of 1999, when the Columbine High School massacre shocked the country.(AUDIO ABOVE)
Writing on Newsbusters last November, I pointed out that the student shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris learned how to construct their bombs through internet research. When Mr. Holder found out about this, he said the following on NPR in late May of 1999:
The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at. - May 28, 1999 NPR Morning Edition
Mr. Holder made these comments some time after former First Lady Hillary Clinton spoke about internet regulation in 1998, while her husband was the center of attention during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Matt Drudge reported on Ms. Clinton’s thoughts on a web without an “editing” or “gatekeeping function”:
Clinton was asked whether she favored curbs on the Internet, after the DRUDGE REPORT made headlines with coverage of her husband’s affair with a White House intern. “We are all going to have to rethink how we deal with this, because there are all these competing values … Without any kind of editing function or gatekeeping function, what does it mean to have the right to defend your reputation?” she said.
Hillary Clinton Continued:
“I don’t have any clue about what we’re going to do legally, regulatorily, technologically — I don’t have a clue. But I do think we always have to keep competing interests in balance. I’m a big pro-balance person. That’s why I love the founders — checks and balances; accountable power. Anytime an individual or an institution or an invention leaps so far out ahead of that balance and throws a system, whatever it might be — political, economic, technological —out of balance, you’ve got a problem, because then it can lead to the oppression people’s rights, it can lead to the manipulation of information, it can lead to all kinds of bad outcomes which we have seen historically. So we’re going to have to deal with that. And I hope a lot of smart people are going to —”
REPORTER: Sounds like you favor regulation.
MRS. CLINTON: Bill, I don’t know what — that’s why I said I don’t know what I’m in favor of. And I don’t know enough to know what to be in favor of, because I think it’s one of those new issues we’ve got to address. We’ve got to see whether our existing laws protect people’s right of privacy, protect them against defamation. And if they can, how do you do that when you can press a button and you can’t take it back. So I think we have to tread carefully.
CNET reports that Mr. Rockefeller’s original version of the bill was addressing national security issues.:
A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president’s power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.
When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. “We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs—from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records,” Rockefeller said.
Why do Senators Rockefeller and Snowe want to shut down communications like the internet during national security crisis situations? During 9/11, New Yorkers and other Americans all over the country could not communicate with one another, because internet and cell phones were overloaded. Emergency responders could not communicate properly with their superiors, who then could not inform the public of what was happening.
A more recent example was how the internet let the world witness the atrocities that took place following the Iranian elections. In that case, we saw the Iranian government attempt to take control of the internet and silence its citizens all in the name of its own national security.
Surely, the United States of America does not want to be placed in a position where it will emulate the oppressive regime in Tehran.