tv Book Discussion on The Pentagons Brain CSPAN October 11, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
>> [inaudible conversations] >> welcome today's international spy museum maya vase curator welcoming you to one of our author debriefing programs. we are appreciative of you coming out tonight we know that it is friday night. we are pleased to have any jacobson here and the best selling author about
government secrecy not to mention intelligence. her best seller area 51 has been published in five languages as her 2014 nonfiction best seller operation paper clip was one of the best books of 2014. her new book the pentagon's brain was published on tuesday and after reading it it will not be long before it joins her other two books as a best seller. welcome. >> do you have on your bookshelf copies of your books and all five languages ? >>. >> i actually do.
especially the chinese one in particular. >> one fame that we have bothers here especially they tend to read about field that is not the most conducive the secret world of intelligence and how did you come across the idea of writing a book about darpa and how well to find your sources? about a top secret agency that does things that we don't want the story to be known. >> for starters thanks for coming. the way i got the idea eighth came on the tail end of the last book learning about what was going on i was surprised to learn he
was going to be the first director of the new agency at the pentagon called darpa. he wanted to be the director but he wanted to bring 12 of his former colleagues with him and that did not apply at the pentagon so they looked elsewhere but i thought what a spicy way to start off an agency with controversy and secrecy and the back story. >> and we will all talk about those who don't know about darpa it is for clarity's sake we will just call it darpa to keep a consistent and there is some
major innovation that we use in our daily lives. so when your book came out there hasn't been a major work at this level sunsuits talk about the origin and why it comes about. it is different from the other military research organizations it doesn't really do scientific research but how darpa is for related. >> it has approximately 120 program managers and all of its entire existence working with a $3 million budget but the individuals themselves are scientists and engineers at the top of their game. they go into their field rather academic gore
military laboratories to put together teams that bring forth this incredible science and technology that creates and tire industries. >> host: we will talk about a couple of those. but you alluded that 1958 as a starting dates matter there is of significant reason to follow its end of footsteps of world history. can you talk about what caused the government to need an agency like this? >> i opened the book of the thermonuclear bomb. 16-megaton explosion. but i do that it is important to do no other reason why it was formed to defend against this weapon
that there is no defense against. with the military industrial complex but to be supreme we must have these incredible weapons tuesday ahead of the enemy and at the same time of the knowledge that it will have that same technology to be on to to the next. that is not the give-and-take that eisenhower talks about. that whatever is lost as but neck to carry and nuclear warhead, and that gave birth to dark but the idea that we must never again be taken by surprise and it is amazing sense that it has always kept america does in this position. there has not been an overtaking america's science and technology and weaponry.
>> remember the fear of nuclear war in the '50s that even in trickle-down as a period the scientists who helps to build the atomic bomb and speaks though it against the hydrogen bomb with the idea the soviets could overtake us just any day lead to the idea to stay ahead technologically. >> one of the first things that he did as director of darpa i don't think this has been reported before but he had the scientists calculate the exact number of seconds it took to get from the soviet union to washington d.c..
1,600 seconds that has not changed. >> mcelroy was secretary of defense, very important but before that to weigh on his personality a little bit and those that our policy wonks. >> is the defense world. and to understand so with the concept of the soap opera a leading die in the advertising department.
and how do you sell more so? and as the secretary defense a very powerful at that. >> that comes in handy with the society of darpa with military agencies the atomic energy commission that this is an idea worth doing. >>. >> in some of these old arguments i've found to meet with those individual heads the army said it should be our territory. >> des the admiral that the states should be our territory with the oceans end they start in everybody had a reason that is how it
tends to be. >> what fascinates me is sometimes the scientists don't know. but don't necessarily understand. i focus on the manhattan project. and then to take bets. >> the great story that you talk about with the of early warning system, without giving away half of your book. >> at the top with the air force base the idea that it
was a ballistic missile radar and as i interviewed and told my story to individual people who were there. as an electronics technician that 90 percent boredom and 10 percent sheer terror. one of the first things that happened rubio but a few days and the site was connected directly. from level one and level two and level three but italy started that if something was detected enrollees the level one. but it came level three by the time they're on the phone with the joint chiefs of staff and escalated at a
level 599.9 percent certainty we were under attack by icbm. somebody picked up the phone and was determined i think this is important because one of the achievements in the next said where is khrushchev? somebody said he is thin due york city. [laughter] -- new york city everybody said that must be a mistake. somebody said someone look outside their arrested giant moon coming up so the radar system worked better than expected. there is less to be up to 3,000 feet better read a section of the maryland and bows back and forth so many
times there were 1,000 that were not coming. >> here at this pyridium focusing on the aspect that darpa was heavily influential as one of the fundamental jobs of darpa that some people may know about. and they took stuff froth off of the program. and the idea as it starts to leak into the civilian world a little bit her garble moss grew up vietnam. this is the first true one. >> eisenhower in particular
by then they hadn't won dash inherited that satellite program. but is the amazing images as a very short list with 23,000 photographs of the year and of the earth. and in this world where we see so much from so much perspective with the idea these are the first images of whether that he saw what looked like over egypt this st. lawrence river and he spoke to the nation of his great pride with the big "national geographic" to be dead but not that long ago
when they could first savings from. >> you have mentioned in the beginning that uses scientist in the country and one of these to me that people just don't know about. like american foreign policy that we still have it today it is pretty extraordinary after darpa was assembled is when the others the mayor may not have known charlestown's it is in a very important but. >> it began 1960 as a group
that is referred to ruth by the government as a superman of hard finance. there after his businesses and nuclear physicist to tap all the hard problems and immediately went darpa was founded the idea was we need the best with the biggest mind. and for a while alton it -- jasons on the customer was darpa i had the great fortune to interview a man named marvin that was the founder of jason and i write about him in the book but it is interesting to hear his perspective. his long lens of history that there's so misunderstood that people consider them to be up there with the human body.
with those unclassified reports but they were very cautious in their work and also full time academic and part-time defense scientists family gather in the summer that the secretary of defense would get to them to say sort this out. >> get was a difficult one that nobody could figure out we have no idea what to do with this so you fix it so amazingly it is with their track record. >> the unclassified documents are one thing but the classified, some of the names have been declassified but then you realize i a couldn't understand that.
it is literally hard science >> a lot of times it is trial by fire. and a lot of the things that are a book that and vietnam and problematic about of war were things to get rid of or were the cause of the effect. the first was to appreciate the idea of the insurgency that was the primary focus of counter insurgency strategy. can you talk about this like anthropology and sociology? >> very interesting time for darpa many different programs came out that we
were working on conventional weapons there were early gliders that led to a technology but the lowest impact we'll was the idea of the ho chi minh trail was the dreaded problem of the of biters there would come and north to the south by the trail and the secretary of defense had this scientist to figure out a way to stop this almost like it was the human that needed to have the artery severed. the scientist in the documents spoke about it that way so they thought about nuclear weapons as an option it was discussed the
idea of the electronic fence all the sensor technology the idea of sensors magnetic sensors and now they make up so the legend of our existence as the wish to wiper's started to work but that is essential the technology it goes back the way i see it to the vietnam war to the center of what that jason were working on. >> i am sure when the bus drove over on the ground to see how fast river going with a sensor. as they begin to invest more questionable technology like
agent orange for i find interesting as well as technology so more outside of the box type of thinking that causes monsoons or to grow food. >> and darpa is an agency that is looking then did say pre-requirements so that system backed the industrial military complex evening kasich spoke to congress after the vietnam war there by congress said you're making reference is you don't need and said it paid for a weapons system comes along and we have not already developed it there
is a real problem. >> let's talk about civilian use because the audience will say that is for that is from. who is this character? >> the johnny appleseed of the internet he is responsible for what you have today but that the kind as the jason project the internet was originally called the arpanet well -- when 1962 congress decided it is a big technology problem and if you can imagine that was the technology that kennedy and chris jab had used -- chris
jeff had use for that decision. and miss 6000 seconds so imagine raising -- wasted three seconds so they said we command-and-control so he was the eccentric banker that talked about this intergalactic network that some house spoke to each other with a command-and-control problems that materializes in its own way and that becomes the arpanet. >> as a scientist as gone back he predicts closet computing. as well was similar to talked-about artificial
technology or artificial intelligence it is hard not only for is the internet but that computer model how those data systems are used to create a models from war games talk about that. >> most people do not know that i often wonder in their right to this in the book by wonder his intentions because he was very liberal in his thinking and transparent to share everything that the same time he was involved in one of the more controversial programs of the vietnam war that had to do with behavior modeling. the new computer systems were gathering information with behavior modeling to keep track of what villagers are doing.
to feed the information into the giant computers with the idea down the road you can track these individuals to say how they wind up and this gets into awkward territory with surveillance programs because they do linked to one another. >> and not to embarrass him as he was working with jack after the internet in neighbor incredibly helpful. and computers could be used as a training tool so and jack had the idea of creating a system instead of using an old sand table for the ideas it could be computerized and it was profound thinking. but it was not clear on the
arpanet with the times that is very precious to of him why do magazines referred to him and as it -- as jack corporation the father of cyberspace? because that civilian technology that we know today that everybody's children works on they find their origins might the pentagon wanted to play the games. >> and then run that all the way down to the ground level with thousands of other people around the country. are there other civilian technologies like gps as a darpa brainchild? >>.
we now have gps even though it's been around for quite some time. >> but i didn't know about either i was in the military before clinton took a way that future and we always wondered because they were much smaller. what we call the big military gps now i know why --. we see everywhere on the battlefield all of their existence in many ways, things like night vision and thermal and stealth technology and guided munitions in things like drones.
it's about these incredible in my opinion estimations of the incredible programs. looking at the technology that we have now came out of the vietnam so this is a decades-old technology and mindful of that idea. another is 186 nations that have armed drones. that idea when you look at darpa routing information technology and biotechnology still have time to discuss a.
of that is the plan for 25 years out [inaudible] there are ethics and about robots that can do things about an operator in the loop. >> and if they had their way in 25 years on the battlefield it wouldn't be fully human, artificial human enhancement, but if i use the word cyborg but the idea of brainwave interfaces
of these are things that ten years ago the science fiction is that science fiction is now becoming truer and truer every day. >> they use the word bio hybrid and that is an idea where you couple animals with machine and they've already been able to do that and he's amazing ways being able to control the rat suffer the pentagon document it's clear that it's moving towards being comfortable with this idea of merging man and machine that makes a lot of people uncomfortable and a lot of other people excited. it just depends where you fall along the lines. this idea of essentially the can
now create our own evolution and engineer our own evolution. you talk about the sigma groups which are actual science fiction writers have been brought in to work to think about the future in some cases. they are thinking right along the lines of the ideas of the future. they have the nobel prize for it in 1964 and without the laser weapons from people at the pentagon they are fairly highly classified i had a discussion still giving interviews page 98 and the office in berkeley but he told me the way that he got the idea for inventing a laser
now considered one of the most important technologies in the present day the military and civilian use, but the way that the town's got the idea was way back in 1926 is when he was a little boy reading a science fiction book called the death ray and that inspired him to create the laser so no wonder the pentagon is interested in science fiction. >> absolutely. >> they know a little bit about darpa and it has to be concerned that some level of out of the influence of the billions and billions of dollars that are being spent by the defense industry and you even say in your buck book and talked about the idea that the people who are pulling the board are not made up of scientists and engineers
and in some cases are made up of the science and engineers from boeing and lockheed martin and the defense industry. is that something that has changed in any way or how in the beginning is that something that is going to mean a continued militarization of? how does this dynamic work is a potentially problematic as we move forward. it's exactly what you're talking about a.
of also said the ideas could live together as long as you have an alert and knowledgeable citizenry you can have a powerful industrial complex and i believe they are interchanged. the problem that i came across actually had to do in the society when i interviewed a very famous program manager from darpa who was responsible for a lot of this trans- humanism early programs in 1990 to 2,003 were discussing the programs that are moving men, merging man with machines in ways that make some people uncomfortable and i said to him about iran and adjacent report that the scientists had counseled at the pentagon and that this was a bad idea that we shouldn't be putting green chips into people's brains because it could lead to brain control.
that is the superman of superman of science, that's their assessment, not mine. the loss could essentially become the steerable human and i was told that the scientists are not really relevant anymore. it is an in-house pentagon think tank and thereby they are very knowledgeable man of science in their own right. unlike the scientists that work full-time academics and part-time defense scientists as the list explains they are defense contractors and that they sit on the board of these defense contractors that really raises the question that eisenhower raised pitch is let's make sure that it maintains a knowledge that they are aware of what the military-industrial complex is planning to do.
it's been in the same speech where he worries about the conflict he warned that the technological elite having the unwanted influence over the country as well. let's open up questions from you. please raise your hand and we are going to have microphones coming around so they can be picked up by the cameras. if you keep your hands up, they will come to you. right over there and we see you here as well. yes sir. >> do you have any examples of where the influence goes the other way where the scientists are seeing something going on in the civilian world and kind of build upon it and creates technology? >> it has to do with a situation in the war on terror in iraq where darpa created combat programs at sea and the idea was
to use that advance censored technology that is now the combat zone so it is drones, overhead sensors on the ground to get an idea of the urban warfare environment that is hard to defend against so what i understand is the pentagon followed the model and sent contractors into the field to map the territory very similar to how they have done and of course now we know there are those partnerships as well. i was on a consultant team who i believe is a paperclip scientist and my question is were there
many involved and how were they vented? cynic that is a good question and in all of my research i didn't come across any of those that are by no means is that they were not there because there were so many of them and they were so involved in many of these programs but that is a great question. you stumped me. >> but there were foreigners involved were it not natural born american citizens so they didn't have any kind of discrimination against people that were born in other countries and people that worked obviously from the manhattan project in other places as well. >> there's one name that has come across, he worked in some of this. yes. >> when you go back into the
brain implant programming but about the use of robots? is the military thinking of that or i guess they have to think of everything at the same time but they are already out in other markets and other places in the world so when will they implement them on the battlefield and how much will there be of the needing to control that orwell is needed at all likable that be the case? spec there are so many roadblocks in place presently. you can go to the website and see these amazing videos. they walk and climb and they can follow and get back a candidate are up in space, they are this big. there is robotics across every military service and certainly plans, the pentagon plans of
unmanned warfare through 2038 to indicate this movement as i said to force the movement from a moved control to governance. >> a lot of the places people heard the name and a challenge which happens every year and balance becomes a massive thing in the country and everything else. right up here. >> thank you for the good moderating. what are some of the ways that darpa morphs its projects into the greater public sector? i mean technology distribution i guess you would call it. >> i talk about on the internet and gps and if you mean specifically how do they say now it's out there in a decision like clinton and al gore.
>> it is a big classification issue in many cases. >> you've even said this in your talk when others have established this technology by themselves it is no longer something that needs the state classified. as you mentioned it was a good example this was of this was the europeans and others putting up satellite so there was no need necessarily to keep the program classified anymore. >> what is the level of cooperation between darpa and the war on terror tax >> while i think darpa cooperates with everyone because for my understanding of talking to individuals, for example everybody wants what darpa has because it has all the best stuff and so i think that it
goes both ways and as much as i read about a couple different programs in the book where we have a team and there was a program i want is a nexus of seven but it's not. it's a program that they went in in afghanistan not clear about how that actually works and i'm sure that stuff is still classified but most definitely water ration for my understanding with all of the military services. >> this may be an unfair question and if it is you can just tell me to shut up. but with all these interesting ideas, what is your next book going to be since one leads to the next out of all of this
effort's >> i keep it a little under the sleeve until i'm asked asked the next book but one thing i can say i always love writing about how the agency and the military intelligence work together because there is always this idea that they don't. it's my understanding that they do so the next book involves a program that was a cia and defense intelligence agency. >> that's more than i would have told. [laughter] >> there so many programs we will never know. they could have had them shut off the c-span camera. >> there is one over there. >> a quick question. thanks for the talk. there's a lot of people who were in veriest positions before and
after. can you talk about darpa for senior managers and maybe for the dod its broad impact on the policy and the people that went on to much higher positions? >> that is a great question and it speaks to how important science and technology is at the pentagon and of course the current secretary of defense being a scientist and technologist. but i think the first one or i know the first one was herald ground. he came directly from livermore age 24 as the protége than when he went to the pentagon he was the person for whom all the people reported to bring the vietnam war and then in 1977 he became the secretary defends a very important secretary defends and in essence created a really important concept which i read about in the book that
absolutely allowed him to dominate dominate and were one and available science and technology driven and i think when the secretary of defense was able to get money into the arena that didn't exist before i certainly would historians say creating an entire industry around technology at the pentagon. >> question. you either did the linkages between the intelligence community. in the research did you ever run across any instances where they edited it from espionage either providing the leader research or suffered from espionage where as you said they got the good stuff other people want to get access to. >> that is a great question.
i do know in the other any other way there's an incredible interplay did cause these programs are so interwoven science and technology and intelligence but i think there's one interesting interview i did because of course they cia has its own darpa now and i interviewed intelligence and they worked together a lot but i did interview someone who was involved in the early organization presenting that idea to congress and what i was told is that the intelligence community was very much lowered by what they were able to do and they wanted their own model and so they really modeled themselves after darpa. >> and it is even modeled after
its core where they are putting out contracts for people today it on the ability for a lot of these things that are so deep in five did five years ago no one was thinking that way and as they are going to the next level saying we want people thinking 30 or 40 years down the road much of the way that they do as well -- >> would you tell us a bit more about how one comes to join in and how you are there in the appointment process or the recruitment for things like that. >> as i said it is there's generally 120 program managers and usually people stay from within the sort of way that it sat in five years. we do have someone in the audience that has been there for decades.
so that is the structure of allegedly but i would also remind everyone that as with all of these agencies the information that is given is only part of the story so we know that it's very much free of red tape and bureaucracy and because as you said earlier they don't make things themselves. so it allows them the flexibility. but they do have an awful large building that not many reporters get into some who knows what is going on. >> i was just wondering how are they involved in the cyber war and can you talk a little bit about that? >> if you look at the budget you can see how many of the programs are trying to defend against the cyber warfare.
i think it's interesting that perhaps the only vulnerability that i have ever heard the pentagon speak of is perhaps we have a supremacy that admits cyber warfare is an enormous threat and so i think that -- i don't think they could be doing enough in that area. i would imagine that they are. >> it's the number one potential threats to the united states to plant its terrorism as a number one threat so people are paying attention and there is a lot of money going into it certainly. >> any last questions? >> there's one in the back. >> i just wanted to know about the conversation.
they still have the edge to use the private companies to the u.s. and the challenge for the question in the u.s.. do you think that they are still in the edge in that sense? >> i ensure that darpa has the edge. they have incredible satellite programs including one that is wafting satellites and reusable technology so i think that's the whole idea of what's happening is having the resurgence now that's very similar to what it was back in 1958. nowhere is more important than satellite technology and since
the job is to keep the nation safe, one can only imagine how much darpa is looking up. >> they always worked with companies as a part of the organizational structure so we don't know necessarily of a private company is getting technological advantages on their own or through the money or somewhere else, so i don't think that is something we will ever be told that my kids may know one day about it. any final questions? >> i always enjoyed reading the acknowledgments section of the book and i was curious about your process as it cooperated in the research you have to identify the sources that were going to cooperate if you could talk about the process for doing the research and writing about the book.
>> i always love talking to scientists and engineers that work on these programs and i always carry with me the idea that goes back to when i wrote my book about area 51 that a scientist who worked with the cia pioneer in space and surveillance but if you are always on top of your information and keep current on things interesting to you, then people essentially gravitate towards you to share their stories with you and they also told me to look up and as a physicist contact, these supermen of science are always looking up for the answers
whether it is the moon or the cosmos the answer lies from above. so what he was also saying to me is go high year up and he told me if someone doesn't want to talk to you it's probably that they are too low down and they can't and seek out their boss and i have found in this way that i find wonderful and inspiring and important that the greatest mind the scientists and engineers of the world, people that have knowledge and information are willing to share it if you ask the question. so, maybe the press office isn't going to give me the information but surely some on the scientists do for this book as they do for all of my books and i think that is the wonderful thing about when you get old and
look back on your life as so many of the older sources of mine you use a two-door self what can i share with my country that i have spent so much time dedicating my life to. >> was this at all by the pentagon or anyone else? >> i'm a journalist or a -- >> we tend to have a would've agency types to go through. right down here. robots take over and we lose control.