On October 4, 2018, Bloomberg BusinessWeek published a story claiming that Chinese hackers were able to “infiltrate America’s top companies” by planting a spy microchip “not much bigger than a grain of rice” on the motherboards of Supermicro servers. The word “attack” is used 30 times in the article.
This report provides more evidence that China’s pattern of behavior is a serious threat to national security and supply chain risk management.
– Sen. Mark Warner (D – VA)
On December 30, 2016, the Washington Post published a story claiming that Russian hackers had “penetrated the U.S. electric grid” through an “attack” on Burlington Electric, a Vermont utility.
This episode should highlight the urgent need for our federal government to vigorously pursue and put an end to this sort of Russian meddling.
– Gov. Peter Shumlin (D – VT)
The Washington Post amended their original story the following day. Turns out that there was no “penetration of the U.S. electric grid.” Turns out that a Burlington Electric employee discovered that his notebook computer, which had never and would never be connected to the grid, had a virus on it. And that virus was probably written in Russia. It’s the same type of virus that lifted John Podesta’s emails. It’s the same type of virus that could lift my emails if I clicked on a “Free Gift From Amazon!!” link. That’s it. That was the “attack on our country and what it stands for.” A Burlington Electric employee clicked on a bad link inside a scam email and downloaded a virus.
So far, Bloomberg BusinessWeek has not amended their original story, despite categorical and adamant denials from Amazon and Apple that there is any truth to the story whatsoever. My fave denial … Bloomberg LP – the parent company of Blooomberg BusinessWeek – was also a big purchaser of the supposedly tainted Supermicro servers, and Bloomberg LP is also saying that they have no idea what BusinessWeek is talking about. And as something of an aficionado of the non-denial denial artform, I would say that these statements by Amazon and Apple and Bloomberg itself (!) are not that. These are full-throated rejections of the claims.
But Bloomberg BusinessWeek is doubling down on its claims, saying that they stand by their story, based entirely on “six current and former national security officials” and the information provided “in conversations that began during the Obama administration and continued under the Trump administration.”
Yes, this story is being sourced by the Trump administration.
Yes, these are events that supposedly occurred three years ago.
Look … do I think that Russia has maliciously poked around in the U.S. electric grid from time to time? Do I think that China has made some efforts to plant spying microchips in server motherboards from time to time?
Do I think that both China and Russia are bad actors through and through? Do I think their cadres and apparatchiks will stop at nothing to promote their state interests and undermine the state interests of the United States?
Do I ALSO think that Western governments and their cadres and apparatchiks – including their useful idiots in the media – will stop at nothing to promote their state interests?
Yes. Yes, I do.
The most important thing you can do to See the Narratives that subsume and drive our social worlds of markets and politics is NOT to read more. The most important thing you can do is to read differently. The most important thing you can do is to read critically.
The secret to reading critically? Ask yourself this:
Why am I reading this article NOW?
Just do that. You’re not saying that the article is a lie. You’re not saying that the article isn’t important. You’re saying that there is a metagame at play here with the author and the sources of that article. You’re saying that you are aware of that metagame and you’re going to take that into account before deciding your behavior in reaction to that article.
Who are the Writers of the World-As-It-Is? They are Republicans. They are Democrats. They are central bankers. They are pundits. They are politicians. They are oligarchs. They are in every nation on Earth. They have ONE thing in common. They’re Writing for their own political and economic advantage. And they’re really, really good at shaping our behaviors with their words.
It’s never been more important to read critically and think critically. Not because you’re a nihilist or you believe in nothing. But because you believe in yourself. Because you’re smart enough and wise enough to make up your own damn mind.