Dick Cheney saw something on the TV show Homeland that hit very close to home.
Cheney’s cardiologist was concerned that terrorists could try to hack into the then-vice president’s defibrillator and assassinate him, so he disabled the remote wireless control on the device to prevent a possible attack. Cheney has a history of heart problems, including suffering five heart attacks, and underwent several heart-related surgical procedures.
This occurred in 2007 when Cheney needed the pacemaker in his chest replaced, but disturbingly enough, the equivalent scenario played out on Showtime’s Homeland years after he left office. Cheney served as US vice president from 2001 to 2009.
Cheney and the cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, are promoting a book called Heart that they co-wrote, and will appear together on CBS 60 Minutes tomorrow night.
A defibrillator is a device that monitors heart rhythm, and if necessary, transmits electric pulses to restore normal heart activity when irregular heartbeats occur. A pacemaker performs a similar function, according to the National Institutes of Health.
CBS News reported Cheney’s response to the Showtime sequence about the VP’s terrorist-induced heart attack: “I was aware of the danger… that existed… but I found it credible, because I knew from the experience we had and the necessity for adjusting my own device, that it was an accurate portrayal of what was possible.”
According to the Quartz.com website, implanted devices in the human body will be increasingly vulnerable to cybercrime, and that the Homeland scenario “has been possible for some time, says Sadie Creese, director of the Global Centre for Cyber Security Capacity at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, and more and more people will be vulnerable in the future.’I think the future of chronic disease control will be implanted devices,’ she said, speaking after a talk at FutureFest, an event held in London…”
Cheney insists that his chronic heart condition never prevented him from carrying out his constitutional duties and rejects the notion that on-the-job stress contributed to his cardiovascular issues, however.
[top image credit: soldiersmediacenter]