Keith Alexander’s One Step Solution

Keith Alexander is testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, ostensibly about CyberCommand.

He has gotten a number of questions about the solutions they’ve offered the President to resolve the phone dragnet issue. He responded it would be possible to keep the data with the telecoms.

Then, in response to a Cyber question, Alexander said the problem is that the NSA can’t share classified information about malicious code with industry, because if it does so in a non-classified setting, attackers will learn how NSA obtained the information. (There’s a lot that’s problematic with that claim, but just ignore all that for now.)

So we need legislation that allows NSA to share classified information back and forth with industry.

He then returned to the phone dragnet. He suggested that the industry retention solution would require legislation allowing NSA to share terrorist identifiers with industry. (Note, this premise is absolutely absurd, as DEA apparently has no problem with sharing drug target identifiers with AT&T in the Hemisphere program in an explicitly unclassified program.)

Finally, he said this legislation — allowing the NSA to share classified identifiers with industry — would serve as the precedent for the Cyber legislation he has long sought but not obtained legislatively.

In other words, on his way out the door, Keith Alexander is now sacrificing his beloved phone dragnet to get cyber legislation in the guise of something else.

4 replies
  1. C says:

    If they cannot share classified information with industrial “partners” then what are all the contractors doing?

    More to the point they already were doing this or claiming that they were when they engaged in threat discussions with companies such as Microsoft. Thus as I read this he is now either admitting publicly that the promise of sharing threat information that they used to lure those companies to the table was a lie or he is admitting that they knowingly kept such information from the “partners” but did not admit that thus allowing security holes to go unpatched.

    Most of this is known from the Snowden documents of course, but it is interesting to hear him admit in a backhanded fashion.

  2. GKJames says:

    I continue to be fascinated by the dynamic that has the national security apparatus driving not only the discussion but the “solutions” it’s prepared to entertain. If anyone doubts that the apparatus is an out-of-control state within the state, they need only look to the unwillingness of any other institution — Congress, in particular — to remind the Alexanders and Clappers that they are subordinates.

  3. john francis lee says:

    ‘ So we need legislation that allows NSA to share classified information back and forth with industry. ‘

    This is grandson-of-CISPA. Google wrote CISPA. It’s payday for ‘industry’ … can’t you see the smokestacks? … and as far as spying goes … you ain’t seen nothing yet! Google and the rest will now be ‘developing’ the targets. Or the ‘industrial’ uses to which ALL your data will be put.

    It’s privatizing the last things of value in the USA … us. They – we – all ‘belong’ to the government – including the things government stole – including our cyberselves. Everything else has been moved to China

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