The late, great Walt Kelly (1913-1973) drew the cartoon Pogo for some 24 years. Pogo, a kind and gentle oppossum, was the only sane character in Kelly’s Okeefenokee Swamp. It was Pogo who uttered the cartoon’s most famous line, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
The phrase originally appear on Kelly’s Earth Day poster, drawn for the 1970 Earth Day. It’s a satiric twist a message sent in 1813 from U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army General William Henry Harrison after his victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, stating, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”
Kelly made the phrase the title of his final book of cartoons. It’s a pretty good summary of the 24 years of cartoons, It’s also a terrific collection of cartoons, featuring J. Edgar Hoover as a bulldog, and former Vice President Spiro Agnew as a hyena.
It’s also an apt summary of the computer attacks that Edward Snowden has disclosed are being launched against Apple by the United States. That’s right, the United States is attempting to crack the security of America’s largest company. All in the name of national security.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency can’t stand that Apple products like, the iPhone, the iPad and the Mac, have a high level of security. It keeps the FBI and the NSA from snooping on the content on the Apple products and the messages they send and receive. It keeps secret what the owners of Apple products want to keep secret. Snowden reveals that there are annual conference among security agencies and their contractors to review the state of cracking Apple. They have the gall to call the annual CIA secret conferences the Trusted Computing Base Jamborees.
Jamborees are Boy Scout conventions. It’s annoying that the CIA and NSA have stolen the term to identify their strategy sessions on hacking our constitutional right to privacy It’s outrageous that the CIA and NSA are devoting our tax dollars to breaking the law and stealing private information. U.S. government attacks against American companies and their products not only threaten privacy, but will ultimately harm the U.S. economy. U.S. tech companies are already under a cloud and have suffered in international markets because of foreign nations’ concerns about our products’ security. The last thing American products and the American economy needs is for the U.S. government to actively undermine our own technology industry.
Remember when the Chinese government recently tried to force tech companies to install a backdoor in their products for use by Chinese intelligence agencies? The U.S. government denounced China. “This is something that I’ve raised directly with President Xi,” President Obama said in early March. “We have made it very clear to them that this is something they are going to have to change if they are to do business with the United States.” It turns out China was actually following the U.S. government’s lead. And that the U.S. is a flaming hypocrite.
The documents Snowden provided do not address how successful the CIA’s and NSA’s targeting of Apple’s encryption mechanisms have been, or the specific use of those exploits by U.S. intelligence. But they do shed light on an ongoing, full-scale campaign by the U.S. intelligence aimed at defeating the Apple’s efforts to secure its products and its customers’ private data. One of America’s greatest success stories, secretly targeted by the Ameircan government.
At least $35 million a year in a black budget. Sometimes all you can do is shake your head.