Cyber & Financial Warfare


The year was 1983. Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States. Computers were big bulky machines that filled up entire rooms and almost no one knew how to use them. There were a few amateur techno geeks scattered around the country who were beginning to build smaller home computers. A few businesses and schools were just considering using a computer. Most people considered computer geeks to be hobbyists more than anything. The world as we knew it was about to change. Why? Because Ronald Reagan watched a movie.

After watching the movie, WarGames, President Reagan was tormented by the question of “Could this really happen?”


WarGames is a movie about a teenager who thinks he is playing a computer game. Instead he is unknowingly sending war commands to a government computer and nearly starts WW III. Shortly before viewing this movie, President Reagan delivered his famous “Star Wars” speech in which he announced plans to develop laser type weapons (a fantasy weapon at the time) to counter Soviet missiles should the need arise. When the President asked if a real life WarGames scenario could actually happen on the heels of his speech, many of those around him wanted to write him off as a crazy old man. Although those closest to him may have quietly been laughing and thinking he was going off the deep end, he was still the President so his question was actually researched. One week after asking his question, the President received an answer, “Yes, Mr. President. A WarGames scenario is possible and the problem is much worse than you think.” No one was laughing anymore at the President’s question.

The book Dark Territory: the Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan is a fascinating book that goes on to describe how much worse the computer vulnerability problem was and the many discoveries made in regards to how computers could be used for or against National Security. The United States used computers against the Soviet Union and their allies during the Cold War. The Cold War was also the first known Cyber War. In fact the very idea of what war is had to change.


In many ways, Dark Territory, traces the development of the computer age and the awakening of our nation out of naivety. The US was slowly beginning to realize that whatever we could do to other countries, they could also do to us. The tactical field had been leveled. The National Security Agency (NSA) and computer tech people had to learn to work together. The entire way National Security is handled had to change. A literal military of cyber warriors had to be developed. This book gives many specific examples of how all of these changes developed and how cyber attacks and cyber wars have been going on pretty much since the development of computers and the internet. If you’ve ever seen an incident on the news and thought to yourself, “There has to be more going on than what they’re telling us,” you were probably more correct than you realize. Dark Territory explores some of those types of stories.

Behind the scenes cyber warfare is only one type of modern warfare. In many ways newer warfare tactics are less violent, but equally (if not more) effective than wars with bombs and missiles. One form of warfare is financial. In Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare by Juan C. Zarate these newer tactics are explored.


Although the US and many other countries have enforced or been the target of trade restrictions and economic sanctions over the years, the newer type of financial warfare tactics began after 9-11.  They were developed to fight terrorist regimes. It’s just some common sense–cut off the funding to reduce the ability to fund illegal schemes. Some of this is done through diplomacy. Some financial tools have been developed to function “under the radar.” This type of warfare is hidden and intended to cut the financial throat of our enemies.

This book explains how and why this power has worked and what must be done to maintain it in the future. It also raises a wary eye to competitor states like China, or transnational networks, that might use the lessons of the past ten years to wage financial battles against the United States. (p.xiii)

 The above is an excellent summary of the book. There are many specific examples in the book about financial warfare. The behind the scenes scenarios are quite interesting.

Did you know about these behind the scenes types of warfare? Do you think one is more effective than the other? Do you think this type of warfare is a good thing?

K9 Officers


K9 officers assist humans in a variety of ways. Some of the many ways in which these dogs serve are on police forces, search and rescue missions, they sometimes search for cadavers, explosives, drugs, and missing people. Some are Secret Service Dogs who protect the President of the United States (and family).

The two Belgian Malinois dogs above are real life Secret Service Dogs named Hurricane (left) and Jardan* (right). Jardan is pronounced jar-DAN. These two dogs are being honored in these photos for taking down a White House fence jumper in October 2014. Their story is featured in Secret Service Dogs: the Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States by Maria Goodavage. If you are a dog person, this book is for you!


*Jardan’s name was misspelled in the media as “Jordan.” Once the mistake was made, it was repeated by other reporters both in the press and on television. Jardan was not offended. He’s not in this line of work for the glory.

The fence jumper was charged with multiple counts of felony assault on a police officer. Both Hurricane and Jardan suffered injuries in the line of duty which required medical attention and some rehab time. Both K9 officers were eventually cleared for active duty and currently still protect the President.

Hurricane and Jardan were given the Award for Valor at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary’s Awards in 2015. No other dogs have ever been honored in this manner.


Dogs are one level of security provided by the Secret Service. Anyone with ill intentions at the White House would have to make it through several layers of K9 security before getting anywhere near the President and/or the First Family. All Secret Service dogs fall in to three broad categories:


Emergency Response Team (ERT) dogs – These dogs are the canine equivalent of a SWAT team. The ERT dogs are highly trained to protect world leaders and are trained in advanced SWAT tactics. Hurricane and Jardan are ERT dogs.


Explosive Detection Team (EDT) dogs – These dogs are stationed at White House entrances and also perform vehicle checks. EDT dogs are able to sniff out all known explosives and may work all over the world preceding the President’s and other important persons arrivals/departures.

Personnel Screening Canines (PSCs) – These dogs check all persons in or in the vicinity of the White House (and all are also EDT dogs).

Secret Service Dogs on Patrol


This group has a subcategory called:

Personnel Screening Canines Open Area (PSCO) aka Friendly Dogs aka Floppy-Eared Dogs – Since all of that is a mouthful to say, most handlers just call them Friendly Dogs.


These dogs take walks for a living and work outside of the fence. Friendly Dogs can track even the vapor of explosives as they are moving. The other EDT dogs that work in and around the White House only do their jobs if a visitor (or an explosive device) has stopped. The floppy eared cuteness of Friendly Dogs is intentional. They must work in close proximity to people and can’t do their jobs if they look scary and cause people to move away from them. Make no mistake though, these are highly trained police officers.

There are all sorts of dogs in the Secret Service.


Some of the dogs are obvious police dogs, others are so covert you probably wouldn’t know they had anything to do with the Secret Service.  Dogs assist with crowd control and they are everywhere. There are also crowd control dogs that work in and around the White House. Some of these dogs are so secret you would never see them. They are hidden behind screens and various other strategic places. Fans blow in the dogs’ directions so they can quickly assess groups. If you have ever been to the White House, you were sniffed whether you knew it or not. There are perimeter dogs who either patrol on foot or work from vans in strategic locations. There are dogs who respond to alarms and other perimeter alerts. There are dogs who protect the Vice President and family, visiting dignitaries and many others. There are dogs with the President where ever he goes domestically or abroad. There are dogs who check transport vehicles such as cars, planes, and helicopters. The dogs work 24/7 year round no matter the weather or circumstances. All of these are just the dogs the Secret Service will tell us about. There are many other levels of dogs that are so secret that they are not acknowledged publicly.

Like people, these K9’s have to continually update their skills. The dogs may go back to school for refresher classes or to learn new skills at various times. Also like people, K9’s need some recreational time and enjoy participating in the K9 Olympics. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many Secret Service dogs participate in the K9 Olympics in Indiana less than a half hour away from where I live! I have seen the outside of the facility and never realized what it was exactly. Dogs from all over the world are sent to this facility to train and participate in K9 games. The Secret Service dogs compete against other teams such as Police or Military Working Dogs (MWDs). In recent years the Secret Service dogs have dominated these K9 Olympics.

I was aware that Vohne Liche  (pronounced Von Lick) Kennels trained police dogs, but I had no idea that they also provide and train Military Working Dogs, Secret Service Dogs and many other dogs for various government agencies. I had to take a field trip to visit the facility (a few times) when I found this out! On my first visit, the facility was just closing but I was told I could take some outside pictures. Here are just a few:


This stone is one of the first things visitors see upon arrival at VLK.


This is a bit hard to see, but I was trying to get the whole obstacle course in the picture.


This picture shows some more of the compound which is spread across 600 acres. I have also learned that there are two other Vohne Liche facilities located in Banning, CA and Yuma, AZ.

On my second visit to VLK, I was granted a brief interview with the owner and founder, Kenneth D Licklider.


Kenneth told me that not only are there 3 facilities in the US, but Vohne Liche owns and operates several similar kennels in several other countries. They literally train dogs all over the world. Due to the secret nature of some of the work occurring at VLK, I asked Kenneth to just tell me what he wanted me to know. Kenneth is a military vet. He learned how to be a trainer/handler  while in the Air  Force. The skills learned in the Air Force transferred nicely to the civilian world where Kenneth began to train police K9s.  Kenneth went on to talk about the origin of the company and how they have grown (which you can read about by following the VLK link below) into handling/training dogs for several government agencies. Although I haven’t read it yet, Kenneth strongly suggested that I read the book From Baghdad With Love by Jay Kopelman.

From Baghdad With Love

 After this, I was asked if I would come back at another time to take my pictures since he had to go to a K9 graduation! I’m guessing that it was a police K9 that was graduating since the parking lot was full of police vehicles and then this morning a new picture appeared on the VLK website:

Another generous contribution made by Dr. & Mrs. Caesar DePaço of Summit Nutritionals International

fargo-handler Congratulations to Peru PD, IN on their new K9 Fargo.

I tied to schedule a third visit to VLK for a few more pictures before this post was published, but we couldn’t seem to find a mutually agreeable time. I’m not sure whether or not it’s still a possibility at this point, but I feel very fortunate to have been able to get an interview with the owner.

If interested, you can watch some short clips of the Vohne Liche dogs at Alpha Dogs  or you can visit the VLK site at Vohne Liche Kennels .

You can also read a little about Military Working Dogs in my post Public Administration & Military Science which features another Maria Goodavage book, Soldier Dogs.

In addition to Police K9’s, Secret Service K9’s, and Military Working Dogs, there are other dogs that work as detectives. The next book The Lost Pet Chronicles:Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective by Kat Albrecht with Jana Murphy is an interesting story.


Kat Albrecht began her law enforcement career as a police dispatcher. Later, she went through the police academy and became a uniformed police officer. Her ultimate goal, however, was to gain respect as a dog trainer/handler. Kat was underappreciated in her first police force job. She didn’t want to work with the usual K9’s that were usually multipurpose dogs. Kat wanted to work with trailing dogs; specifically Bloodhounds and Weimaraners. The police force where Kat first worked in the late 70’s/early 80’s only wanted to use German Shepards or Malinois. At the time, most police forces did not recognize the value of utilizing other breeds. Undaunted Kat trained her Weimaramer, Rachel, to be a cadaver dog–a brand new concept in the world of law enforcement at that time. Kat also trained her Bloodhound, A.J., to be a scent detection dog. Eventually Kat changed jobs and this time found herself on a police force where she was both respected and taken seriously about her desire to use trailing dogs. After awhile, both Rachel and A.J. proved their value in solving cases, finding hiding suspects, and finding evidence of all kinds. Though skeptical at first, Kat’s fellow officers found a new respect for trailing dogs.

Unfortunately some time later an injury forced Kat to retire from her beloved police force, but she wasn’t ready to quit working. Prior to her injury, Kat identified a need for a service to find lost pets. Pet owners often treat their pets as family and a missing pet often feels like a missing family member. Kat had done some preliminary lost pet searches on her own time while she was still a police officer. After her injury, Kat took on a new challenge of using her dog to track lost pets. Rachel, in particular, did indeed turn out to be a multipurpose dog. Rachel had retired from the police force several years before Kat did. However, Rachel came out of retirement to become a pet detective. Not only did Rachel retain all of her police skills, but she learned to track down specific cats and dogs.(Rachel also tracked an iguana and a ferret!) It was later learned that not all dogs could track both cats and dogs. Some dogs could only track cats, other dogs only tracked dogs. Rachel was even more valuable than she had first appeared.  Because Rachel’s nose was almost 100% accurate, she could track almost anything asked of her.

Since preliminary pet detective work with Rachel was so successful, Kat went on to found the nonprofit group Missing Pet Partnership as well as train many other dogs to do this type of work. Kat has also been successful at profiling missing pet behaviors. Currently there are 30 states that have this service (sadly Indiana is not one of them) and 4 locations in Canada.

Do you know any working dogs? Did you know about the Secret Service dogs? Have you ever heard of pet detectives?




Continuing along in the 360’s (Social Problems & Social Services) section of the Fulton County Public Library, I’ve landed in a section on lying. Lying is a huge social problem. There are many reasons people might lie which include (but are not limited to) trying not to hurt someone’s feelings or trying to keep themselves out of trouble. defines lying as:

  1. the telling of lies, or false statements; untruthfulness…

     2.telling or containing lies; deliberately untruthful; deceitful; false…

The Bible has this to say about lying:

The LORD detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy. (Proverbs 12:22, NIV)

Because, unfortunately, lying is so prevalent in our society and because in many cases people think it is socially acceptable, we need a way to figure out who is telling the truth and who is lying. While character would enter in to this detection process on various levels we also need more scientific methods of proving truth or lies. This is especially true in courts of law as well as in cases where officials need to interview suspected criminals or witnesses. This need gave birth to the invention of the lie detector, circa 1920. A lie detector is a device that is hooked up to a person who is being questioned. The device measures physiological responses such as rate of breathing, blood pressure, pulse, and perspiration. It is believed that a person who is trying to hide something would have involuntary responses while trying to cover up the truth. The machine records an individual’s responses and if they are “out of the ordinary,” the person is assumed to be lying. Lie detectors are known by many different names some of which are polygraph, deception detection (or detector), and truth seekers. The United States is the only country in the world that has made extensive use of this device. While the device itself isn’t fail proof and it’s results have rarely been admissible in a court of law, Americans are still obsessed with the idea that we can scientifically prove when someone is lying. This obsession is at the heart of The Lie Detectors:the History of an American Obsession by Ken Alder.


As you might imagine, The Lie Detectors follows the invention, implications, and applications of a lie detector from its birth to modern day. Along the way, various interesting stories involving lie detectors are told.

The lie detector is an American invention that was initially supposed to be used to stop “third degree” (read hostile and violent) interrogation of suspects in criminal cases. Initially it was hoped that the lie detector would eliminate the need for juries, judges, and the legal system since the truth would be known and there would be no need to weigh evidence and make a decision about guilt or innocence. The first case in which a lie detector was used to solve a crime was at College Hall, a women’s dormitory at Berkley. A woman was robbed of a diamond ring and some cash. The lie detector was brought in to discover the truth of the situation; a real life whodunnit. The robbery victim was used as a control subject since it was known that she actually was robbed. All the other women and the dorm mother were questioned until the culprit was found and charged with the crime. It is important to note that the thief was caught not only by the lie detector results but also because she believed the lie detector would find her guilty.

John Larson, a police officer and the person who is generally credited with the invention of the lie detector, wanted to use his device as an official law enforcement tool.  (Detective Larson had to “interview” the robbery victim mentioned in the above case on multiple occasions. On one of these interview dates, Larsen asked the victim if she loved him. She said no, but the machine said she was lying. Larsen later married her.) Larsen also wanted to clean up police and political corruption using the device. This tool could also be used to identify inmates who were falsely imprisoned. Although the uses just mentioned were Larsen’s primary aspirations for his machine, he inadvertently discovered it could also be used as tool to diagnose mental disorders such as schizophrenia, psychopathology, and medical conditions. Larsen discovered his own irregular heartbeat with his lie detector.

Not surprisingly, Larsen met a lot of resistance from corrupt politicians and police officers when he tried to clean up “dirty” officers and officials who didn’t want to be exposed. Even many inmates (particularly the guilty ones) didn’t like the use of lie detectors since they were able to buy their way out of trouble through the corrupt cops and politicians. Judges were afraid of being replaced by a machine and didn’t like the idea that a machine could decide a man’s fate-something they said that only juries should do. Perhaps more surprising was the reaction of the mental health professionals of the day. They claimed that the lie detector was not based on “real science” since they felt threatened by its existence. When confronted with this reaction from psychiatrists and psychologists, Larsen came to believe that many of these people were frauds and had no qualms about saying so. Being so outspoken didn’t win Larsen any friends.

There were (and still are) other problems with the lie detector. From the very beginning, there were ways to circumvent the results. For instance in the very first case at College Hall, Berkley the thief actually passed the test the first time she took it. It was discovered that she was so nervous having to take the test that she took several drugs to try to calm herself–which influenced the test results. When the thief was retested when not on drugs, she believed she would now be found guilty and when told the machine said she was lying, she became very violent, jumped up and tried to destroy the machine. She eventually confessed believing she had been found out, but ironically the test wasn’t finished and Larsen only told her she was found to be lying (as he did all the other women so he could gauge their reactions). Therefore, the test can be influenced based on what the test subject believes to be true, whether it is or not.

There were times, when the test subjects themselves were able to fool the lie detector by only pretending to do what was asked of them. Another examiner, Leonarde Keeler, made some improvements to the recording instruments on the lie detector machine and then patented the “Keeler Polygraph.” Keeler, who was also an amateur magician, used the farce of trying to help subjects relax before the test by performing a card trick. He actually was trying to establish a baseline pattern on the machine. Keeler would ask subjects to pick a card out of a deck of playing cards and look at it. Then he would ask the subjects to deny every card he showed them was their card as part of the trick. Of course Keeler had marked the cards so he knew exactly which card the subject had seen and when they denied it, he had their baseline. A particularly astute woman picked a card, but only pretended to look at it. So when she denied seeing all of the cards, she beat the test. (Keeler later married the woman.)

Not all of the problems associated with the lie detector test were about the machine itself. Because the questions were subjective and usually written by the examiner, bias could be introduced through the questions. Many questions were found to be prejudicial based on the assumptions of the examiner. For instance, there was a ridiculous assumption in the 1920’s that African Americans were less truthful than whites. Despite the lie detector confirming an African American’s answers, the examiners (who were almost always white men) would make excuses as to why the results couldn’t be correct because everyone “knew” that whites were more truthful. Ironically this said more about the dishonesty of the white officials than anything that was assumed about African Americans.

John Larsen saw the lie detector being used in ways he never intended and compared himself to Dr. Frankenstein who lost control of his monster. Though John Larsen tried, he couldn’t reign in his own monster, the lie detector he had created. During Larsen’s lifetime, the lie detector was being used to advertise everything from cigarettes to razors. A one time friend and late life enemy of Larsen, Leonarde Keeler, used the lie detector to gauge audience responses to movies making him one of the earliest audience pollers of film. The only use John Larsen had in mind for his monster of a machine was law enforcement and criminal justice.

In the area of law enforcement and criminal justice, the lie detector was frequently used to print newspapers stories about high profile criminal cases and court proceedings. The public seemed to have an insatiable need to know who did or did not pass the lie detector test. Newspapers quickly figured out that crime sells and soon had a cult following which has contributed to the book genres, tv shows, movies, and magazine articles of true crime that is so popular today.

Due to the ways in which the lie detector was known to yield imperfect results (drugs, the subject cheating, and prejudicial questioning) and because of other questionable uses, judges insisted that juries be the deciding factor in criminal cases, the lie detector was banned from American courtrooms. It was because of this ban that police officers continued to use lie detectors as an investigatory tool while judges said the results of such investigations are inadmissible in court even to the present day.

Even though Americans still can’t scientifically prove whether someone is lying or not, we still try. The next book, The Truth About Lying: How to Spot a Lie and Protect Yourself from Deception by Stan B. Walters is a book that attempts to teach ways to recognize a liar. Walters has a quite impressive resume which includes such things as teaching his skills to businesses, industries, and law enforcement agencies & academies. In addition to all of this Walters has also taught classes at the US Department of Defense, US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Walters is a member of the American Polygraph Association.


In a nutshell, The Truth About Lying describes ways in which people may get nervous when concocting or telling a lie. The key is to learn to be a great observer. It takes practice, but Stan Walters explains that liars are a bit like poker players and they all have their own “tell.” There is no one formula of behavior that fits all liars. It’s more like figuring out a person’s personal combination of behaviors. I found this book interesting, but not particularly out of the ordinary.

Have you ever taken a lie detector test or known someone who has? Have you ever observed behaviors that you thought indicated lying?