Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz argued Monday that "leftist" policies initiated by the Obama administration have limited the ability of the United States to effectively conduct "information operations," ultimately damaging American national security.
Gertz spoke with televangelist Pat Robertson, host of "The 700 Club," to discuss his new book, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, and several national security issues ranging from the Obama and Trump administrations to Russia and North Korea.
Gertz said that one chapter of his book argues that ideas from the "political Marxist left"—led by individuals like Herbert Marcuse and Saul Alinsky in the 1960s and 1970s—are now limiting the U.S. government's ability to combat cyber attacks and propaganda originating from foreign entities.
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"It's a very important look at some of the issues going back to Herbert Marcuse of the new left back in the 60s and 70s where he told the radicals, ‘Don't go into the streets anymore, go into the institutions, make a long march through the institutions of America,'" Gertz said.
"I argue in iWar that the Obama administration was more or less the culmination of that long march where lefties policies were initiated and have caused extreme damage to our national security," he added.
Gertz further explained the influence of Saul Alinsky, whose book Rules for Radicals was essentially "a blueprint for how to transform the American system into a leftist neomarxist system." That influence is still alive and well today, permeating the U.S. government and culture, he argued.
"That's kind of what we are up against today," Gertz said. "The main manifestation has been political correctness, which is damaging everything from our campuses, to our entertainment industry, to our businesses, and ultimately, to the government itself."
Political correctness is being used as a kind of "ideological club to beat America with," Gertz said. In order to combat its damaging influence, the United States needs a new information strategy—new tools to win the information game.
"We need new information tools. We need to have better debate skills. We need to be able to confront these bogus ideas and promote American ideals of liberty, freedom, free markets," Gertz argued. "That's what's urgently needed."
Gertz said that unless the U.S. fights back, the country will be at continued risk of debilitating attacks, such as cyber offenses that Russia and North Korea have launched in recent years.
Robertson asked Gertz to explain the security situation following the release of The Interview in 2014. The movie is critical of the North Korean regime and depicts Kim Jong-un's death.
Following the movie's release, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked. U.S. officials said North Korea was behind the cyber attack, which was "the first shot in information war for the 21st century," according to Gertz.
The biggest issue with the Sony attack was the lack of an adequate response from the Obama administration, Gertz added.
The hackers were known to operate in northeast China and southeast Asia with the support on the Chinese government. While symbolic sanctions were placed on North Korean officials, little was done in the way of conducting counter cyber attacks.
"Nothing was done to go after or try to damage the infrastructure of that hacking network," Gertz said. "What that does is it just encourages more cyber attacks."
That lack of action affects the current standoff between the U.S. and North Korea.
"Now we are locked in a struggle with the North Koreans and their new missile program, and they can back that unless we access or minimize their cyber hacking capabilities," Gertz said.
When asked how these issues impact President Donald Trump's White House, Gertz explained that the challenge is extensive but can and must be addressed. Doing so, he argued, involves appointing the right people while simultaneously removing "entrenched bureaucrats" and Obama administration "holdovers," allocating budgetary resources and updating policies.
"Once the administration gets its people in place, we can take the government off autopilot," Gertz said. "We can get some political appointees at the working level and get them to put new policies in place. We can focus the budget resources and get Congress onboard for reforms."