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Offense Becomes Defense: Aaron Swartz and the Pentagon's Cyber War

by Abby Zimet

Two leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee are questioning the harsh federal prosecution of Aaron Swartz and the bulked-up felony charges against him even as the Pentagon - citing official talk of  possible "cyber-Pearl Harbor" attacks by mysterious foreign hackers, extremist groups or "aggressor nations" - has announced it will expand its cyber-security force fivefold to over 4,000 people. Glenn Greenwald and other critics charge the move is part of a fear-mongering campaign that will expand the role of the U.S. as the world's leading cyber-aggressor, privatize government cyber-spying, and make a few companies lots of oversight-free money while at the same time posing new threats to our privacy and Internet freedom.

"What Dwight Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex has been feeding itself on fear campaigns since it was born. A never-ending carousel of Menacing Enemies - Communists, Terrorists, Latin American Tyrants, Saddam's chemical weapons, Iranian mullahs - has sustained it, and Cyber-Threats are but the latest."

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