Credit should be given where it’s due, and kudos to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for not pulling a Jean-Pierre and being actually (somewhat) honest about national security affairs.
During a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Buttigieg weighed in on the crisis afflicting the FAA, which is quite shocking considering that planes have not been grounded since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Mitchell noted that the FAA crisis, which has caused the types of disturbances that terrorists love, may well be the result of a possible attack, as evident from the tough question she asked.
“We have seen domestic attacks on other aspects of our critical infrastructure, power substations. Are we absolutely positive this was not the result of any nefarious activity, either domestic or foreign?” Mitchell inquired.
Fortunately, unlike the White House press secretary, Buttigieg did not issue a massive lie regarding the presence, or lack thereof, of nefarious activity.
On the contrary, he made it clear that the Biden administration would not be ruling anything out.
“We’re not prepared to rule that out. There hasn’t been any indication of that. The FBI has spoken to this, and of course, FAA is looking at that as well as they work to see exactly what was going on inside the files that were in the system leading to this irregularly. Again, what I would say is there’s no direct indication of any kind of external or nefarious activity. But we’re not yet prepared to rule that out,” Buttigieg asserted.
Mitchell then proceeded on with other difficult questions, or at least certainly more difficult than the president himself ever has to deal with.
“How old is the software? Was it being updated? How long will it take to get it back up and running?” Mitchell pressed.
Buttigieg noted that the software in question has indeed been utilized “for many years,” indicating that it is pretty old.
“It’s been used for many years. It’s based on a standard. Every country has a version of this global standard to get this safety message traffic through their aviation system. It is periodically and continuously upgraded and updated,” Buttigieg replied.
In other words, subject to mass vulnerabilities, especially from nefarious actors.
The fears regarding a cyberattack are reasonable, especially since several official airport websites were already disrupted in the fall.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a statement regarding the attacks, warning other individuals in charge of key critical infrastrucures to be aware of potentially nefarious activities from foreign actors.
“CISA is aware of reports of DDoS attacks targeting multiple U.S. airport websites. We are coordinating with potentially impacted entities and offering assistance as needed,” the CISA intoned.
One “potentially impacted entity” may well be the FAA, as attacking the FAA would be a natural progression from attacking individual airport websites.
With regards to the grounding of planes, the FAA claims that, “at this time, there is no evidence of a cyberattack.”
Emphasis on “at this time.”
As time passes, however, it will be interesting to see the real source of the disruption …
Author: Jane Jones