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John McAfee: US gov’t hack by China is an American nightmare — and the decline of an empire

John McAfee is one of the most influential commentators on cybersecurity anywhere in the world. His new venture — Future Tense Central — focuses on security and personal privacy-related products. McAfee provides regular insight on global hacking scandals and internet surveillance, and has become a hugely controversial figure following his time in Belize, where he claims to have exposed corruption at the highest level before fleeing the country amid accusations of murder (the Belize government is currently not pursuing any accusations against him).

Our Founding Fathers feared democracy. From these fears, and in order to form a more perfect union, the Constitution and our Republic were born. This revolution in government was adopted in the wake of a tremendous fight for independence. Against all odds, our country was born out of a state of oppression and limited personal freedom. There are few points in history that exhibit such a level of individual responsibility and absolute freedom among the common man as there were during this Constitutional period.

Our founders knew that great experiments were tried before, and we would be tied to both the glory and the failures of nations throughout the ages — From Rome, to Athens, and one day even our own government, which was tested in the Civil War. Yet two-hundred and forty years into our history, it is our own government that has wound up taking away freedoms, taking away property, and taking away our futures for their own sake.

Make no mistake about it, we are being tested again.

Related: US and China working on cybersecurity peace treaty?

The loss of freedom is clear. The loss of security is astonishing. The loss of responsibility is shameful. Technology is at the center of this. Today, October 1, marks the beginning of what somebody out there deemed to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Fantastic, but it’s not enough. We need to be aware of cybersecurity concerns at all times, from now until forever. I cannot stress the urgency of these issues enough. Technology, security, and privacy have formed the foundation of my campaign for President of the United States, and it is becoming more important with each passing day.

Just yesterday, a report from the Washington Post described how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had to pull officers from a Beijing embassy in the wake of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) attack.

The CIA pulled a number of officers from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing as a precautionary measure in the wake of the massive cybertheft of the personal data of federal employees, current and former U.S. officials said … The move is a concrete impact of the breach, one of two major hacks into Office of Personnel Management computers that were disclosed earlier this year. – Washington Post

This is just the beginning of the spectacle that is on the horizon. Cybersecurity is the front line in the weakening of this country’s ability to preserve its sovereignty and leadership in the world. The loss of information from OPM hack means that everyone that had or applied for a security clearance has the knowledge that their most personal and private information is out there in someone’s hands.  It would appear that some embassy personnel were CIA officers, and would have come up in the stolen OPM records. Everyone that is working in the field is now susceptible to some form of blackmail or bribery, and anyone can be an asset to the enemy. If this were a spy novel, here’s where all hell would breaks loose.

“If this were a spy novel, here’s where all hell would breaks loose.”

Here we are with yet another example of how the ruling class has missed opportunity after opportunity. It is an example of how we can seemingly never put the blame on anyone. Only one person lost their job because of the OPM hack, and she got to resign (I’m sure it was probably with pension benefits).

Beyond a spy novel, I liken our government situation to a Dr. Seuss book where up is down and down is up, red is green and green is red.

  • We have a feckless ruling class that spend way too much with no results. Just look at what we have to accept.
  • We have the impossible formula where a military gets smaller with each passing year, but each year it costs us more money.
  • We are faced with an impossible quantitative easing formula that has seen the Federal Reserve balance sheet go from about $200 billion to more than $4 trillion, based on vapor (or paper).
  • We are faced with the impossible formula that says we have record tax receipts coming in, but we are simultaneously faced with record deficits.
  • The list goes on…

We are expected to accept these things as true, no problems here. Feckless is one word for this pattern, stealing is another, insanity yet another.

Related: John McAfee on why Homeland Security is failing miserably at protecting us online

We have been detached from the values of individualism, responsibility, and freedom that were bestowed upon us by our Founders and the Constitution. We can attribute this disconnect to the comfort and prosperity we have long enjoyed thanks to the sacrifices of many. However, this sense of comfort is nothing but a fortress built out of matchsticks, and losing key government employees in the field is only the beginning of what may precipitate our decline.

You can see how technology has become a focus of this and so many other stories. The ruling class has done the best job they can do, which by all measures can only be rated as “poor.” Opportunities are being lost, security is being lost, and we are all being distracted to listen to the music while Rome burns.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can find our way back. The keys are in the text and in the spirit of the Constitution.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.