• United States



Commissioned by Roger Enright

Jun 05, 20115 mins
Business ContinuityCareersData and Information Security

There is much confusion swirling around who and what the Cyber Security Forum Initiative (CSFI) is and is not. As a volunteer to the group, let me take this opportunity to explain what I know of CSFI and what being a volunteer means. I don’t speak for CSFI. I only speak as a volunteer for the organization.

CSFI is a non-profit organization with over 7K members. Paul DeSouza, the director of CSFI establishes the agenda which is purely independent of government organizations and agencies. Sure, the CSFI provides products such as Project Cyber Dawn, an open source document available on the Internet. The CSFI is made up of volunteers like me who contribute time and individual expertise to support the CSFI mission. CSFI is an open book. Go to and look for yourself. There is nothing subversive about this group or its volunteers.

I joined CSFI to provide support based upon my particular skills. These skills are published in my bio, discussed in seminars and speaking engagements, written in this blog and fully open and available (LinkedIn, etc.). The skills I learned years ago while serving my country have come in handy for Project Cyber Dawn. The document is clear as to its intent. It was presented to defense and intel types but there is no quid pro quo. This is a one-way street where CSFI presented the information as a service. It was not requested by these defense and intel types nor commissioned. Sure, there is a version not for public consumption largely since we did not want certain information as analyzed and written to be used against the innocent citizens of Libya. We were and are trying to be responsible for our actions. That is what adults do.

During the project, Mr. DeSouza asked me if using Palantir would be a good idea. Knowing of the Palantir product (as well as their reputation), I said the tool would be good for data aggregation and analysis. Paul started making calls and was able to secure a few licenses as long as one gentlemen from Palantir could participate in Project Cyber Dawn and support tool usage.

I suggested to Mr. DeSouza that we also engage Unveillance and pointed him to Karim Hijazi and the Unveillance website. A very limited account was provided to Mr. DeSouza that only allowed information about Libya to be seen. That information was botnet exfiltration activities coming from Libya. This data provided a tie to physical activities conducted by Muammer Qaddafi’s regime. Each time Libya shutdown Libyan Internet access, his regime would murder civilians and conduct military operations. Sound analysis and something that should not be lost on the likes of LulzSec and Anonymous. The Palantir tool, limited to just a few volunteers (not myself), served the project well. Once the project was completed, Palantir retrieved the complimentary licenses. Of note, the Syrian and Iranian governments use the same methods to stifle free speech and murder their citizens. Personally, I support the Arab Spring.

The volunteers come from most every occupation. Patriots, professionals, the curious and dutiful. All who wish to make a difference and lend their expertise to the cause of freedom and justice.  

There is no conspiracy here or some subversive plot underlying CSFI activities. It is what it says it is as far as I know and as far as the other volunteers know. Once the folks at Anonymous realize that their rogue partners at LulzSec have gone even further off the reservation, I would hope they would attempt to exhibit some level of control to reign in this militaristic wing. They are acting much like the targets they purport to despise. Once they mine the emails from Unveillance and others, they should realize that there is nothing there but a misguided hack upon a startup company of four people working to get a company off the ground and make a living for themselves and their families. It is just that simple. People who want to live the American dream. Not have an organization that says it stands for freedom of speech, use the First Amendment as a tool to censor others.

For the conspiracy theorists that believe CSFI to be some sort of function financed by the U.S. Government, I say this: Get out in life and stop thinking there is something hidden in your box of Cheerios that controls your thoughts. CSFI is struggling like the rest of us to establish an organization that stands on principles and contributes to the good of society.

Those who know me know I don’t lie. There is no value in it and as I have been all my life, I am an ideologue sprinkled with pragmatism. One other thing to consider is this. Long before most of you were born, I was and have been a fan of The Fountainhead and objectivist epistemology. However, I believe it from the standpoint that we should attack the Elsworth Toohey’s of the world and not those who stand like the Roger Enright House. I even use the caricature of Elsworth in my book “The Illusion of Due Diligence,” for people like him that I have encountered in my career. When it comes to the Enright House, Unveillance is one such house. CSFI is working to be the same. You have struck at the wrong organizations.