Tags: NSA | tech | Snowden | general

US Generals Lose the Economy's Crown Jewels

By Wednesday, 12 March 2014 07:27 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Vindication is always nice. Last year I explained in this column why General Keith Alexander should lose his job as National Security Agency (NSA) director. I figured Edward Snowden would agree — and this week he did. I heard him myself.

I was one of thousands in the Austin Convention Center crowd who watched Snowden's live video message to the SXSW Interactive Festival. The moderator said Alexander (and his predecessor General Michael Hayden) had gravely damaged U.S. national security by intentionally weakening online encryption standards. Snowden agreed.

Let's be generous and assume the generals were sincere about protecting America. This does not change the facts: Alexander and Hayden created national insecurity instead of national security. They made it easier for hackers and thieves to penetrate everyone's defenses.

Worse, their "collect it all" strategy so swamped the intelligence community that it completely missed evidence of actual plots, like 2009 underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The only thing that saved 290 people from death was the bomber's own incompetence. Yet his father had walked into a U.S. consulate and warned American officials that his son was dangerous.

Where was NSA? It was spying on video gamers and intercepting emails from presidents of our allies in Germany, Brazil and Mexico. Such activities do not make Americans any safer.

The tech leaders are obviously not leading, so now dozens of small startups are filling the void. I saw them at SXSW. They have the technology to make the entire world NSA-proof; they just need to make it accessible to non-geeks. I predict some of them will make huge amounts of money in the process.

Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL) and other tech giants are all trapped between rocks and hard places. Snowden said the best way for them to regain their users' trust is to tell the U.S. government "No." Recently I dared Apple CEO Tim Cook to do exactly what Snowden said. He hasn't taken the hint.

I am not saying those brands will all go out of business and disappear. They will just find it steadily more difficult to sell their products overseas, especially in key emerging market nations like Brazil and China.

Meanwhile, young entrepreneurs around the world will compete hard for those same customers. I predict they will win, simply because the world no longer trusts American technology. It doesn't trust our banks, either. We will run out of industries very soon at this rate.

You can thank Keith Alexander, Michael Hayden and the politicians who enabled them for this stark prognosis. The crown jewel of our economy is going to collapse because the generals fought the wrong battles.

There is hope, however. Your grandchildren and their peers see the problems. They are working to correct them. I think they will succeed . . . eventually.

Meanwhile, you might want to avoid large-cap U.S. tech stocks. Their days are numbered.

© 2021 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.


   
1Like our page
2Share
PatrickWatson
Vindication is always nice. Last year I explained in this column why General Keith Alexander should lose his job as National Security Agency (NSA) director. I figured Edward Snowden would agree — and this week he did. I heard him myself.
NSA,tech,Snowden,general
484
2014-27-12
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 07:27 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 
Newsmax TV Live

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
MONEYNEWS.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved