Tags: Alexander | bank | Snowden | cybersecurity

Ex-NSA Chief Will Give Bankers What They Deserve

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014 07:51 AM Current | Bio | Archive

General Keith Alexander, the now-retired National Security Agency (NSA) director who was once Edward Snowden's boss, hung out his consulting shingle this month. His IronNet CyberSecurity firm already has a hot prospect: the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).

Alexander reportedly offered to consult with the organization on cybersecurity matters for a mere $1 million monthly fee. SIFMA thinks $600,000 is more reasonable, but either amount should keep the general comfortable in his golden years.

I have a more important question. If you are the banking industry's trade group, and you want to help your members defend their systems from hackers, why hire Keith Alexander? What will they get for their million bucks a month?

After all, Alexander established the systems that let Snowden download thousands of top secret documents, then closed the barn door after the cows left with a belated two-man rule.

Hiring Snowden to guard the NSA's secrets led to the most serious data breach in American history. Knowing this, why do our leading banks want Alexander to guard their secrets? It makes no sense.

Furthermore, in the name of "national security," Alexander's NSA intentionally weakened the security protocols that banks (and everyone else) use to stop intrusions. His agency made the nation less secure, not more. Is this what the banks want? They will richly deserve what happens if they allow him on their side of the table.

Of course, SIFMA could have different motivations. They are no doubt aware that President Obama's NSA review panel recommended the government stop manipulating the financial system, which is another way of saying "stop hacking SIFMA members."

The industry, through its association, might see Alexander's consulting gig as a kind of protection money. They pay Alexander boatloads of cash, and he coughs loudly next time they get manipulated.

Coughing is about all Alexander can do, too. The same secrecy laws and nondisclosure agreements that bound Snowden also bind Alexander. Unless SIFMA members have both a security clearance and "need to know," he can reveal almost none of his cybersecurity knowledge. If he does it anyway, then he's no better than Snowden.

There's a third possibility, too. Maybe Keith Alexander was secretly working for the banks before he left the NSA. Now that he is safely retired, he can collect back pay for services already rendered.

I know this is a bold allegation, but it is no more so than Alexander's own statement that Edward Snowden is working for the Russians.

I'll show my evidence when Alexander shows his.

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PatrickWatson
General Keith Alexander, the now-retired National Security Agency director who was once Edward Snowden's boss, hung out his consulting shingle this month. His IronNet CyberSecurity firm already has a hot prospect: the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
Alexander, bank, Snowden, cybersecurity
422
2014-51-25
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 07:51 AM
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