In Kompromat, Jeff Pegues, who covers justice and homeland security for CBS News, offers a chilling, cautionary investigation of the cyberwar between the United States and Russia, one that serves as a wake-up call for citizens and policy makers. Indeed, the book shows that the Cold War did not end; it evolved into a high-tech battle that compromises officials and elections.
The book features insight into high-level officials, including CIA Director John Brennan and James Comey, the controversial former FBI director whom the author views as a thoughtful straight-shooter. Included are many illuminating interviews with officials who learned through experience what the general public has only recently begun to understand: expert Russian cybercombat poses a challenge that must be met with full force by the US government.
Among the most astute interviews are those with Laura Rosenberger, director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, who defines hacking as war without firing a shot, and Jim Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who assesses Russian cyberwarfare as Russian president Vladimir Putin’s response to what he believes is the United States’s plan to destroy Russia.
The interview that will likely resonate most with US citizens is with Michele Reagan, Arizona’s conservative secretary of state, who refused the short-lived Trump Commission on Election Integrity’s demand to turn over the state’s voting records. Together, these interviews create a vibrant atmosphere that gives the book the feel of an espionage thriller.
This accessible addition to the literature of technology and politics reveals that cyberwarfare, through manipulating social media and hacking voting records, has replaced terrorism as the number one threat to American life; it will require a bipartisan political effort to level the playing field.
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