Tuesday, January 6, 2015

If the FBI Says It, It Must Be True

-Ryan McMaken
As libertarians, we’ve seen it all countless times. A friend or colleague who has been going on and on about how incompetent the government is, will say the exact opposite the second the topic turns to foreign policy. The government can’t deliver the mail on time or treat appendicitis with any sort of reliability or quality control, we are told, but in the next breath, we’re told that “we” must unite to fight the Iranians, or the Syrians, the Iraqis, or whatever other group of people the government tells us is the current existential threat to us all.

This breathless patriotism, exhibited by fearless opponents of big government, of course rests on the assumption that what they are being told by the federal government is not only delivered by the government without guile, but that the presented “facts” are beyond question. True, the feds are assumed to binept at providing train service or safe food, but the government’s ability to interpret global trends, identify threats, and carryout the perfect remedy is treated with unquestioning acceptance.

As just the latest example of the US government’s half-baked and slapdash efforts which the intelligence community still passes off as impeccable to its credulous defenders, the FBI’s solemn pronouncement that the North Korean regime had hacked Sony Corporation’s computers was treated with near-universal acceptance at first. Bill Kirstol at the Weekly Standard, for example, accepted the Korth Korea theory without hesitation, declaring:
The surrender to North Korea is a historical moment. It’s far more significant than President Obama’s announcement the same day of his opening toward Cuba. That is merely another sign of an administration’s strategically weak and morally rudderless foreign policy. The capitulation to North Korea could be—unless we reverse course in a fundamental way—a signpost in a collapse of civilizational courage.
Except that the evidence that North Korea was involved is shaky at best:
US cybersecurity experts say they have solid evidence that a former employee helped hack Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system — and that it was not masterminded by North Korean cyberterrorists.

One leading cybersecurity firm, Norse Corp., said Monday it has narrowed its list of suspects to a group of six people — including at least one Sony veteran with the necessary technical background to carry out the attack, according to reports.