To whom it may concern:
The bearer of this letter is providing emergency communications sustainment and restoration support to critical communications infrastructure facilities in response to:
“COVID-19 declaration of national emergency”
These critical communications facilities are necessary to ensure first responder, emergency responder, public messaging, 911 communications, and providing life-saving capabilities that are functioning during this period of national emergency. In the course of providing the support, the bearer must be able to travel to and access the infrastructure facilities during curfew and restricted travel periods, in order to prevent loss of service or restore critical communication services.
The cyber and infrastructure security agency national communications coordination branch requests any courtesy that can be extended be offered to the bearer of this letter during this response. Request support through the following date: 28 May 2020
CISA/NCC greatly appreciates your cooperation, and is working with the bearer to coordinate the rapid restoration of critical communications networks, continuance of communications, retail capabilities, supporting responders, and the community at large during this national emergency.
The bearer is responsible for payment of services received.
The CIOCC comms has a 24 hour point of contact to address any questions or concerns related to this request and can be reached at (703) 235-xxxx or at ncc@gov
- John O’Connor
Director, national communications coordination branch, cyber security and infrastructure security agency.
I’ve been in this business a long time. I’ve worked in disaster areas, riots, civil unrest, 9-11, and conflict zones or battlefields in four countries on three continents... and I’ve *never* received anything of the sort like the above communique that I was handed this evening.
The cynical side of me says it’s just bureaucratic nonsense that means nothing. Except we’ve always had bureaucratic nonsense, and it never led to being issued a letter that basically says “hands off, let this person do/go/whatever ________ place/thing they say they need to do, and don’t fuck with him”.
For an administration that (100% deservedly) hates much of the press (and should, if I didn’t already make that clear enough), this directive being issued to them not to be hindered in any way is unprecedented in the history of this country. Literally NO President has ever done anything even *remotely* like this. I can’t even imagine the kind of conditions they are worried about in the days/weeks/months ahead where it would be conceivable that the federal govt might need to remind it’s various state govts and their agents of authority to not only keep their hands off the press, but actually afford them any reasonable assistance they ask for. But clearly they are worried about that kind of thing. Enough that they went to the trouble of issuing this directive, which has literally NEVER been done before.
I don’t know what it really means...if anything. But when it was handed to me I read it several times, just to be sure it meant what it appeared to say. Because in 26 years of doing this, I’ve .... our industry.... has never received anything like this.
We are truly in uncharted waters as a nation.
When the fedgov thinks it needs to remind the states not to interfere with the press, I can’t even imagine what kind of scenario they’re envisioning where having to do that would even be necessary. Because whatever it is, it’s worse than any damned hurricane, earthquake, natural disaster, riot or terrorist attack... I wasn’t really that spooked about this whole thing until this evening. Now, I definitely am.
I guess we’ll see....