Statists Indulge in Crisis Fantasy

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” top Obama henchman Rahm “Dead Fish” Emanuel advises. “What I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Rahm’s fellow statists rub their hands with glee as they imagine the opportunities for expanding still further the intolerably intrusive powers of the federal government that future crises might present. For example, a massive cyber attack would be damaging enough — but the response to it could be scarier still:

What if a crippling attack struck the country’s digital infrastructure? …10 former White House advisors and other top officials joined forces Tuesday in a rare public cyber war game designed to highlight the potential vulnerability of the nation’s digital infrastructure to crippling attack.

The results were hardly reassuring.

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“We’re in uncharted territory here,” was the most common refrain during a three-hour simulated crisis meeting of the National Security Council, the crux of the Cyber Shockwave exercise.

Joe Lockhart, former press secretary to President Clinton, urged his fellow panelists to be bold. …

The panelists apparently took him to heart and, as the scenario unfolded, tossed out ways to maintain order — including nationalizing industries, rationing fuel and snatching suspects overseas.

It’s a totalitarian’s fantasy scenario.

Stewart Baker, former general counsel of the National Security Agency, said the White House should shut down cellphone networks even if no law specifically allowed it.

“We will be criticized if we don’t do everything we can,” said Baker, who played national cyber coordinator. “We can straighten out the [legal] authorities over time.”

Chertoff later asked if the military could help. “I don’t want to seem like a legal Nervous Nellie,” he said. …

Frances Fragos Townsend, who served as counter-terrorism advisor in the George W. Bush White House, called for rationing of gasoline and other crucial supplies if necessary.

At least there was a little comic relief in the Foggy Bottom style:

John D. Negroponte, who spent most of his career as a diplomat before becoming the first director of national intelligence, urged a diplomatic approach. “We’ve got to sit down with these people,” he said [referring to the imaginary saboteurs who brought the system down].

But back to the scary stuff…

John McLaughlin, who was deputy director of the CIA during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, suggested maximizing use of intelligence assets — and perhaps nationalizing electric power companies.

“We can turn the [National Security Agency] loose on this problem, and gather tons and tons of information, gigabytes beyond imagination,” he promised.

In the end, no grand plan emerged, but the group did agree to advise the president to federalize the National Guard, even if governors objected, and deploy the troops — perhaps backed by the U.S. military — to guard power lines and prevent unrest.

A crisis that provides this many opportunities might be too good for Big Government to wait for someone else to cause. But if this is still America despite the Hopey Change, attempting to federalize the National Guard could cause more unrest than it prevents.

On a tip from Lyle. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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