Did the Military in fact, Classify the Southern Baptist Convention as a Terrorist Threat?
Thanks to the AFA breaking the story and cranking up the heat on the U.S. military, the Pentagon is now scrambling to unblock the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) website on military computers.
The reason given by the military’s IT unit for the original blockage is that the SBC website contained “hostile content.” The Pentagon has since claimed the blockage was due to the detection of malware on the SBC website. This may be so.
Pentagon officials have stumbled all over themselves trying to deflect the accusation that the occlusion represented an expression of anti-Christian bias.
Not so fast.
According to the Pentagon’s own definition of cyberwar, the DOD may in fact have been accusing the SBC of being a domestic terror threat. My search of the term “hostile content” and “malware” yielded nothing but one obscure reference, in a veterinary journal of all places.
But a search of the term “hostile content” and “malware” took me to a website that contains the DOD definitions for all sorts of malicious activity in cyberspace.
All this brouhaha could have been avoided had the CONUS team simply said the site had been blocked due to “malware.” But it didn’t. It used the term “hostile content.”
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “hostile” is “of or relating to an enemy.” So the most straightforward understanding of the phrase is that the DOD was accusing the SBC of having “content” that was generated by or associated with the DOD’s enemies. Well, the DOD’s enemies are America’s enemies. It’s pretty easy to do the math here.
The DOD’s “cyberspace glossary”, where we ought to find clarity on this matter, does not even have an entry for “hostile content.” If the DOD wants to avoid confusion in the future, perhaps they had better add a definition forthwith.
(For the complete, 503-page “Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,” go here. There is no definition of “hostile content” anywhere that I could find. And that document is “As Amended Through 15 March 2013.”)
In the current cyberspace glossary, the word “hostile” is used just twice, once in reference to a “hostile act” and the other in reference to “hostile intent.”
Now to be sure, the DOD did not use the phrase “hostile intent.” It used the phrase “hostile content,” which – and I’m open for more information here – is rarely if ever used in cybertalk. I talked last evening with an IT specialist who has spent 30 years protecting computer systems from viruses and such, and he has never even heard the term “hostile content.”
The more common term is “malware,” which is a combination of the terms “malicious” and “software.” But if that’s what the military was talking about, why didn’t it say so?
Here is the DOD’s definition of “hostile intent,” which is the closest we can come to a working explanation: “The threat of an imminent hostile act. Determination of hostile intent in cyberspace can also be based on the technical attributes of an activity which does not meet the hostile act threshold but has the capability, identified though defensive countercyber or forensic operations, to disrupt, deny, degrade, manipulate, and/or destroy critical cyber assets at the will of an adversary (such as a logic bomb or ‘sleeper’ malware). Because an individual’s systems may be used to commit a hostile act in cyberspace without their witting participation, the standard for attribution of hostile act/intent for defensive counter-cyber purposes is ‘known system involvement,’ and is not witting actor or geography-dependent.” (Emphasis mine.)
So the most charitable explanation we can come to, using the DOD’s own terminology, is that the “content” of the SBC website represented an “immediate” threat to the security of the DOD and hence the American people. You will notice that mere “capability” qualifies for “hostile intent” designation.
This wouldn’t be a concern were it not for the disturbing pattern of hostile, anti-Christian behavior from the military. Just recently, an Army officer classified AFA and FRC as “domestic hate groups” in an official military communication. Training presentations in the recent past labeled evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics as domestic terror threats, right alongside Al Qaeda.
Franklin Graham was banned from the Pentagon for telling the truth about Islam. Christian prayers were forbidden at veteran cemeteries. Bibles were banned at Walter Reed. Bibles were collected and burned in Afghanistan, where crosses and steeples were removed from base chapels. And the list goes on.
In fact, under this commander-in-chief, it is not an exaggeration to say that our own military is on the verge of becoming the most virulent anti-Christian, anti-American force for secularism in our history.
They’re beating the ACLU hands down in the mission to ban Christ from the public square, because the ACLU can’t order anybody to do anything.
But the U.S. Army can. And that’s the danger.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio. Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”