It’s been almost a decade since Leon Panetta, then the secretary of defense, warned of an impending “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” He didn’t want to be right.
Leon Panetta is one of the few American government officials who can look around at the nation’s rolling cyberdisasters and justifiably say, “I told you so.”
The former secretary of defense was among the first senior leaders to warn us, in the most sober of terms, that this would happen in a 2012 speech that many derided as hyperbolic. He didn’t foretell every detail, and some of his graver predictions — a cyberattack that could derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals — have yet to play out. But the stark vision he described, of hackers seizing our critical switches and contaminating our water supply, is veering dangerously close to the reality we are living with now.
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