At a Department of Defense budget hearing in the Senate on Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned of a cyber version of Pearl Harbor that could paralyze the government and the private sector, according to CNS News.
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) asked Panetta:
“You said something that just kind of went over everybody’s head, I think, that there’s a Pearl Harbor in the making here. You’re talking about shutting down financial systems, releasing chemicals from chemical plants, releasing water from dams, shutting down power systems that can affect the very survival of the nation. What’s the likelihood in the next five years that one of these major events will occur?”
Panetta, according to CNS News, answered that the technology with “the capability to paralyze this country is there now” and that “the more this technology develops, the more the will to potentially use it is going to take place.”
Panetta had earlier said that the private sector is as vulnerable as government is to these attacks.
Panetta and the Obama administration are under scrutiny for allegedly leaking information about the Stuxnet virus that disabled Iran’s ability to enrich Uranium at one of its facilities. If the Obama administration leaked the information about Stuxnet to boast about their foreign policy successes, the administration could have agitated countries such as Iran that don’t need a another reason to launch a massive cyberattack on the United States.