For the CEOs of companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, talk of cyberweapons and cyberwar could have been abstract. But at a classified security briefing in spring 2010, it suddenly became quite real.
"We can turn your computer into a brick," U.S. officials told the startled executives, according to a participant in the meeting.
The White House and FBI have confirmed al-Qaida attempted to target a plane bound for the United States. All indications are the plan was conceived by al-Qaida's arm in Yemen. But officials say the plot was foiled before it was any threat to the public.
Business executives and national security leaders are of one mind over the need to improve the security of the computers that control the U.S. power grid, the financial system, water treatment facilities and other elements of critical U.S. infrastructure. But they divide over the question of who bears responsibility for that effort.
The disagreement stands as an obstacle to passage of major cybersecurity legislation backed by Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Susan Collins of Maine, among others.
U.S. authorities say they have foiled a terrorist plot to target an airliner. A suicide bomber was planning to bring down a plane headed to the United States. The Associated Press first reported the story. Al-Qaida's affiliate group in Yemen is believed to be behind the plot, which national security officials say had not advanced far enough, that the suspect bought plane tickets or tried to board a plane.
NPR's Carrie Johnson has been reporting on this story. She joins me now. And, Carrie, what else have you found out?
The alleged mastermind of the Sept.11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four other defendants appeared in a military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, over the weekend to answer a roster of charges filed against them. The hearing was supposed to be a straightforward arraignment, but nothing went according to plan.