Sept. 30, 2010 (The Atlantic) -- Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., former Director of National Intelligence and Director of the National Security Agency Mike McConnell said that the U.S. is unprepared for a cyberattack and must overhaul its defenses.
"The warnings are over. It could happen tomorrow," he said of a large-scale cyberattack against the U.S., which could impact the global economy "an order of magnitude surpassing" the attacks of September 11. McConnell, in a panel with Bush administration Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend and Washingtonian reporter Shane Harris, called cybersecurity "the wolf at the door."
McConnell and Townsend both argued that the U.S. should overhaul how it defends against cyberattacks. Townsend warned that U.S. intelligence and security agencies lack the organizational ability and authorization to prevent and respond to cybersecurity threats.