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Former NSA Chief Warned Against Selling NSA Secrets

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the alan-grayson-hates-freedom-and-puppies dept.

Politics 138

An anonymous reader writes Former NSA Chief General Keith Alexander has apparently started his own cybersecurity consulting firm, IronNet Cybersecurity, and approached the banking industry pitching his company's suite of services. Word from Wired indicates that his services cost $1 million per month with a special discount asking price of $600,000 per month. Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) expressed concern about General Alexander's activities to the banking industry, stating, "I question how Mr. Alexander can provide any of the services he is offering unless he discloses or misuses classified information, including extremely sensitive sources and methods....Without the classified information he acquired in his former position, he literally would have nothing to offer to you." (PDF) The congressman from the House of Representatives reminds the bankers (and General Alexander, should he be listening) that selling top secret information is a federal offense.

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bridge for sale (4, Insightful)

mindcandy (1252124) | about 4 months ago | (#47327605)

I don't know if I'd brag about my tenure there in the context of selling security consulting.

The whole Snowden affair demonstrated that they still managed some epic fails.

But sure .. 600k? .. I'll take two, because that's how we roll with government spending.

Re:bridge for sale (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 4 months ago | (#47327901)

I don't know if I'd brag about my tenure there in the context of selling security consulting.

This.

Detecting and stopping an insider from downloading a library of proprietary/classified info outside their job description? Fail.
Capable of searching emails to fulfill a court order for information? Fail.
Bringing a basic (if high-end) new datacenter online? Fail (for not securing a reliable source of electricity).
Obeying the rules that govern their core mission? Fail. Performing their core mission? Fail.

No doubt, the NSA remains every bit as scary as ever, but in more of a "CIA goon" sense than their traditional so-flawlessly-smooth-you-won't-even-know-what-happened reputational sense.

Re:bridge for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329875)

Sure, the NSA suffered a massive data exfiltration, thanks to Snowden...

The NSA's publicly acknowledged failures are a matter of strategic incompetence. You'd have to be a fool to think the NSA would keep dumping money and resources into programs that weren't yielding good intel. Being a spook 101 teaches you to not compromise sources and methods. Also, it would be folly to assume that the actual rules under which the NSA operates correspond to those which have been publicly disclosed.

Given his background, I'd be amazed at how Gen. Alexander believes he can bring any value to his clients without using the classified info locked in his brain. That said, were I desiring to avoid government surveilence and had 600k/month to make that happen, he'd be on the short-list.

Re:bridge for sale (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#47330171)

You'd have to be a fool to think the NSA would keep dumping money and resources into programs that weren't yielding good intel.

I think you're the fool if you really think that. think about it. nobody, really nobody(is supposed to), is going to find out about the quality of the intel. people involved with the decisions are gettin money from the money dumping. so you really think they wouldn't keep dumping money and resources into programs that weren't producing good intel? they could always even argue to themselves that whatever bullshit program they're in charge of _might_ yield some intel some day maybe and thus it's worth dumping 40 million into it every year (along with 1 million to the pocket whoever is directing it and aware of it in the first place).

I mean, fuck, you would get better intel for making global strategy decisions from watching fucking BBC apparently.

by the way its entirely possible that Alexander doesn't even know too much that's classified, for being too stupid to understand it. if it's just crap that's been on the Snowden files he can sell it all day long.. if he finds someone stupid enough to pay him 600 000 bucks a month for it... and he really needs only to find one or two. and what the fuck is up with the discount? intro discounts are not discounts, that's the ONLY FUCKING PRICE the service has been available for, gear up your consumer protection laws too!

Re:bridge for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47330329)

by the way its entirely possible that Alexander doesn't even know too much that's classified, for being too stupid to understand it. if it's just crap that's been on the Snowden files he can sell it all day long.. if he finds someone stupid enough to pay him 600 000 bucks a month for it... and he really needs only to find one or two. and what the fuck is up with the discount? intro discounts are not discounts, that's the ONLY FUCKING PRICE the service has been available for, gear up your consumer protection laws too!

Somehow I seriously doubt that, there really is nothing Snowden leaked that was jaw dropping. It's pretty much information that some of Jane/Joe public knew about or suspected. The US has been the ring leader when it comes to cutting international spying deals, and getting public and private companies to willingly cooperate with them.

If that information is classified and the US wants to stop anyone from using it they will be going after the General to prosecute him. Just because it is leaked and especially after the General publicly shunned Snowden as a traitor he would be just as guilty for using classified information, and considering his former position in the government ranks it would make him just as guilty. I don't think the government going to turn a blind eye if the information is being used in a private business venture..

And the idiot politician that ran his mouth should shut the fuck up, the banking industry runs the country because assholes like himself are being bought off to allow, little to no regulation of banks, and other financial industries. Made me laugh when he said what he said, I'm sure bankers are really shaking, (sarcasm) so much so they'll fund another politicians campaign to replace him.

I agree with your comments tho they should be modded up.

NSA = No Sensible Administration ? (4, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 4 months ago | (#47330429)

It seems to me that the entire purpose of any secret government agency is to benefit the secret government agency.

Michael Moore is a self-taught movie maker. His movie about U.S. government corruption in secret agencies, Fahrenheit 9/11 [boxofficemojo.com] , made $222,446,882. It's not like extreme U.S. government corruption is unknown.

There is a HUGE conflict of interest, and the U.S. government seems to have no influential methods of dealing with conflicts of interest. If there is security, people who work for the NSA are less likely to be promoted, and may lose their jobs. That is a powerful reason for NSA employees and management, and other secret U.S. government agencies, to create more insecurity. Since they work entirely in secret, no one can stop them.

U.S. government policies allow many secret agencies. I find it odd that news stories assume that, other than doing things that almost no citizens want, the secret agencies are otherwise well-managed. Numerous examples show that they aren't. For example, Edward Snowden [wikipedia.org] , an employee of an NSA sub-contractor, was able to walk away with all the data.

To me, it is also odd that news stories assume that the NSA works to improve security of the U.S. and U.S. citizens. For example, the book House of Bush, House of Saud [wikipedia.org] explains that the Bush and Cheney families worked for the Saudis, who paid them billions for their help. The U.S. taxpayer paid for the arms, military presence, and violence that supposedly was free security for the Saudi government, but actually was, as Saudi acquaintances I met in a gym said long before the 9/11 attack, Saudi government oppression of the Saudi people.

Why does the NSA record phone calls? Is it because learning about some of those calls makes money for someone in control? Investment information, perhaps?

The U.S. government's war in Iraq is now being called a "mistake". For example, Hans Blix: Iraq War was a terrible mistake and violation of U.N. charter [cnn.com] . It wasn't a "mistake", other articles say, it was deliberate deception. For example, Stop Calling the Iraq War a 'Mistake' [huffingtonpost.com] .

NSA = No Sales for America. The NSA is a powerful advertisement that anything complicated made by a U.S. manufacturer may have intentional defects or surveillance methods.

Re:bridge for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328045)

"The whole Snowden affair demonstrated that they still managed some epic fails."

Some? The history of US intelligence after WWII is nothing BUT failure. It's boy scouts for adult boys with toys.

Re:bridge for sale (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328235)

Well your resume of pizza sales and mopping the all male bathhouse floor is so much better?
 
LOLzzz!

Re:bridge for sale (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329221)

Actually I'm going to disagree with you there. Yes, Snowden was a loss for the NSA, but not a fatal loss.

Gen. Alexander presided over and participated in an epic expansion of the NSA budget, mandate, and importance. They achieved the nirvana of government existence: To become a mover and shaker. The NSA now overshadows the CIA and FBI in importance.

The Snowden disclosures threaten that status, but notice that none of the limitations on the NSA have actually happened yet. Lots of talk but little action. The government likes it's pervy magic database of secrets and private communications. Sure it's constitutionally infringing but hey, terr'ists!!

And even if the golden age of spying winds up being curbed, Gen. Alexander can always find a way to blame someone else, or say "it' was one unfortunate mistake, lessons were learned, I wasn't properly informed, etc."

Re:bridge for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329973)

He can only say that if he were within the status quo, which he certainly is not. That said.. he should rid his house of rope, and avoid going near any train tracks or airplanes.

Re: bridge for sale (1)

John Howell (2861885) | about 4 months ago | (#47330043)

Or if he can learn from his mistakes, then maybe he is an expert.

Re:bridge for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47330723)

Actually I'm going to disagree with you there. Yes, Snowden was a loss for the NSA, but not a fatal loss.

I am going to disagree with you too. Snowden wasn't a loss for NSA at all but a huge win.
The organization has been off the tracks for a while now, Snowden took a large stride to put them back on the right path. We just need to put some of the worst offenders in that organization in jail and we might even see a day where the operation can continue as it was supposed to instead of being dismantled.

Not a good sales pitch: (4, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#47327617)

THe banking industry is probably wanting a step up in security, while the NSA under Alexander had horrible internal security. Alexander's forte seems to be using brute force to break the security of others, not actually keeping an organization secure.

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47327731)

Alexander's forte seems to be using brute force to break the security of others, not actually keeping an organization secure.

It sure is a good thing that the banking industry is a bunch of totally upstanding, honest, guys, steeped in a culture of prudent moderation, who definitely wouldn't have any interest in the potential applications of NSA-tested 'tailored access operations' for shareholder value, enhanced lobbying, and other exciting things; or the colossal hubris necessary to not even think twice about doing so.

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (1)

metlin (258108) | about 4 months ago | (#47327797)

You owe me a coffee! :-)

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47329135)

You'll probably have some trouble collecting; but if you securitize the coffee obligation and just sell the top tranche or two no harm could come of it...

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (1)

number6x (626555) | about 4 months ago | (#47327871)

posting to undo a bad moderation

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (1)

gargleblast (683147) | about 4 months ago | (#47329593)

A most irritating Slashdot bug. But do take the opportunity to post something sensible, such as "Why wouldn't top bankers pay top dollars for top secrets?

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (0)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#47327853)

"THe banking industry is probably wanting a step up in security, while the NSA under Alexander had horrible internal security. Alexander's forte seems to be using brute force to break the security of others, not actually keeping an organization secure."

Perhaps that's his pitch?

The best defense is a good offense. Instead of fixing your security flaws, just make sure that getting to important systems will take some time, and be detected. Then wait for attacks to start, counterattack, and wipe out the attackers before they can get to the goodies.

Unfortunately while that sounds like a great movie plot it sounds like a really bad way to try and secure billions of dollars.

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327931)

He is selling pentesting, bruh, not NSA secrets. Should be legit

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#47328233)

Didn't realize pentesting was a $1,000,000/mo subscription service.

I've obviously been undercharging.

Re:Not a good sales pitch: (2)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 4 months ago | (#47329861)

The sort of services being offered are easily worth USD $1M/month when you consider who the clients are, the scale of their operations, the degree to which their systems are interconnected with those of other institutions (large and small), and the complexities involved with regulatory/legal/reputation compliance and management. Risk management and threat analysis are not simple subjects.

To put it simply, these aren't your sort of client engagements.

Poor guy... (4, Insightful)

jasno (124830) | about 4 months ago | (#47327637)

So the poor general can't participate in the usual dance of former Washington insiders who use cronyism and connections to enrich themselves after 'serving' in government?

There should be a name for that... like 401(c)... where c stands for crony capitalism.

Re:Poor guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328807)

Well they do say that lots of innovations started at NASA and percolated down the industry and now directly affecting our lives. What's NSA but NASA minus and A?

Laugh-worthy (1)

djdanlib (732853) | about 4 months ago | (#47327655)

"Without the classified information he acquired in his former position, he literally would have nothing to offer to you."

Oh brother. A former work colleague saying "You'd be nothing without us!"

It's not like a person exists outside of their job, or can ever learn new things, right?

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327709)

It's also blatantly not true. Even if he learned about some hundreds of network and OS vulnerabilities because he authorized NSA branded custom exploits to use them, the knowledge of the vulnerabilities is not classified, only the behavior of the NSA proprietary exploit tools. As long as he is fixing the exploits and not just tweaking them so the NSA toys can't use them (until the next internal revision), his knowledge is fair game for him to use for personal profit.

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

djdanlib (732853) | about 4 months ago | (#47327843)

Exactly my point... If you learn a skill at your job, your employer cannot strip you of that skill when you leave.

Obviously selling government secrets is different from saying here's how you implement industry best practices to create security processes.

If the government had a secret security-bypassing technique, and had educated him on its use, he may or may not be obligated under his new employer to close the hole. And as a constituent of that government, I would approve of that use of that information.

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

dosius (230542) | about 4 months ago | (#47327921)

Some employers try, with non-compete clauses.

Re: Laugh-worthy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328545)

The government has non-compete clauses.. With guns and jail!

Given all the things the "NSA cannot tell Congress" that are secret I'd think that most information this guy has is not usable. Because anything you learn working for the NSAis by definition secret until explicitly declassified ...

Re:Laugh-worthy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329913)

If he had knowledge of a secret security bypassing technique, closing the hole would (necessarily) disclose relevant classified information to the client. Which would be illegal...

Re:Laugh-worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47330945)

your employer cannot strip you of that skill when you leave.

Thats exactly the problem !

I, as an employer, cannot allow any former employee to steal such a skill from me (its mine, as it has been created in worktime). When such an employee chooses to leave he must be regarded as the common thief he is and be put in jail until he relinquishes that skill back to me.

He's welcome to use that skill as long as he's in my employment though.

Oh, by the way: these are rough times, and I don't think I can increase wages this year. If I wanted to that is (less money for you means more for me).

But heck, it should be an easy choice: either stay and work for me for whatever I'm offering or never work again. Its a win-win situation as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Laugh-worthy (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47327949)

It is? Odd that someone as insignificant as me has it in his contract that any kind of "internal knowledge" he gains (and, bluntly, if an exploit isn't considered internal knowledge in a TLA, what is?) must not be used outside of very well defined areas of work for at the very least 2 years, while someone as the NSA head honcho gets a free pass to use such knowledge as he pleases.

Re:Laugh-worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328181)

It sounds like you have an illegally restrictive non-compete clause in your contract. Take it to a judge, some will throw the clause out completely and many will demand a specific list of "competitive" work instead of a small list of "noncompetitive" options.

Re:Laugh-worthy (2)

rockmuelle (575982) | about 4 months ago | (#47328847)

Nope. I've talked about this with many lawyers. It varies by state. In CA, non-compete clauses are basically unenforceable. In TX, where I live, they're the law of the land.

-Chris

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 4 months ago | (#47327739)

The NSA should have put a clause in his employment contract preventing him from competing against them for the next X years.

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47327975)

Erh... that would be akin to a occupational ban. I mean, as soon as you even as much as reach towards anything that could remotely be considered "security" you are essentially in competition with the octopus the NSA is...

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 4 months ago | (#47330871)

But the NSA (apparently) isn't in the data securing business. They're in the learning secrets business. A non-compete clause would prevent him from working for the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency or someone else in the learning secrets business. If a court says that securing the data of people engaged in lawful behavior is competing with the NSA, then they're saying that knowing everything about the doings of the people engaged in lawful behavior is properly within the NSA's purview. The NSA might like that idea, but I don't think a (non-secret) court would.

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47327817)

Unless being NSA directory is a surprisingly cushy position, leaving ample time for personal development and cultivation, I'd be skeptical in this case. Aside from his 1978 BU MBA, there is approximately fuck all on his CV that doesn't involve either armored vehicles or classified (and not always licit) signals intelligence and surveillance work for Uncle Sam. He doesn't even appear to be one of the revolving-door guys who hops back and forth between a stint with the feds, a stint with Spydyne LLC, back to the feds, and so forth.

He's presumably a sharp guy; but he doesn't exactly have lots of experience that it would be legal to go into too much detail about.

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | about 4 months ago | (#47328941)

Yeah, the jumping back and forth doesn't happen when you wear the uniform, or did you miss the General part. Not defending General Alexander here just commenting on the lack of moving from government to industry and back.

Re:Laugh-worthy (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47329267)

I don't have a problem with not being a revolving door hack (indeed, it's generally better than the alternative). My point was merely that Alexander's CV has very little on it that isn't either irrelevant to his potential customers (at least I hope our financial sector isn't looking for armored warfare expertise...) or closely connected to a series of fed jobs that just keep getting more heavily classified as time goes on. I am notably unsympathetic to the "zOMG! Noncompete! your employer owns every idea and/or life experience you had at any time" school; but in his case it would appear that he knowingly worked on a series of all-kinds-of-classified activities, and not much else.

That being so, any discrepancy between his consulting rate (which is steep) and that of a skilled and experienced; but less notable, security analyst with management capabilities starts to look suspiciously like trading on the sorts of job experience he would have agreed not to disclose, and for no noble motive.

It's not as though he is obligated to forget everything he ever knew about computers and security when he goes job hunting; but it's hard not to feel a twinge of suspicion at what he's charging, and wonder exactly what experience he brings to the table that is worth that much.

Try him and not Snowden then (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 4 months ago | (#47327665)

Snowden didn't reveal NSA secrets for his personal profit.

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327783)

Share knowledge with everyone, stuck in Russia indefinitely.

Share knowledge with the rich fat cats, profit immensely.

Same message, drastically different outcomes.

Sounds like the American way to me.

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47327983)

It's very un-American to do something without the plan to profit from it!

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328033)

+1 funny
just not very christian

Offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328679)

The disparity between the example Jesus set, and what the word "Christian" has come to mean, is huge.

All his talk of providing for the poor and being morally upstanding is dwarfed by the business of giving your money to the church in order to secure a desirable afterlife.

Jesus spent most of his time challenging the hypocritical religious establishment of his day. Perhaps that is an example more Christians ought to be following?

Re:Offtopic (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47328711)

If Jesus was so in favor of the poor, why did he spend his considerable income building a large, ornate church in Salt Lake City?

Re:Offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329057)

He didn't, he was just the gardener.

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#47330603)

It's very un-American to do something without the plan to profit from it!

Interesting. . . . . So what do you think Snowden makes? I hear he only gave about 200,000 of the 1,700,000 documents to reporters. A buck a page? Two? Ten?

American Generosity [wsj.com]
Americans are the most generous, global poll finds [csmonitor.com]

Americans are more apt to donate to a charity, volunteer, or help a stranger than residents of 152 other countries.
 

Generosity in America [foxnews.com]

   

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328571)

Check Snowpup's offshore bank accounts and lifetime annuity from the Soviets before claiming he made no personal profit. You really think someone is not paying him? Got a nice bridge to sell you while you're shopping :/

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (2)

arklite (3537129) | about 4 months ago | (#47328749)

If profit is personal advantage, and Snowden is advancing an agenda based on ideals, then yes, he is advantaged and therefore profited. Not all people are motivated by money; for some, power, fame, or influence suffice. I'd say he did it for wholly selfish reasons: "He knew better than the State"

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328863)

This is why Snowden's revelations don't compromise security... every single relevant nation already paid for the good stuff.

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328989)

It depends on how you define profit. He certainly did it to stroke his own ego at a grave cost to his birth country. Look up megalomaniac in the dictionary and you will see a picture of him.

Re:Try him and not Snowden then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329879)

Looked it up. It was a picture of Donald Trump.

Snowden is cheaper (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327681)

he'll give it to you for free .. you can put up the $1 Million towards wikileaks as donation ..

Re:Snowden is cheaper (1)

Calydor (739835) | about 4 months ago | (#47327697)

Selling it is a federal offense.
Giving it away is treason.

Re: Snowden is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327835)

Are you saying that treason is not a federal offense? Is that like a state crime, or municipal?

Re: Snowden is cheaper (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47328003)

No, it merely means that for selling it you get to go on a trial where in the end you get to make some kind of deal with the state where you can keep half the profit and the other half disappears in some war purses for deals that you don't want to explain why you need funding for them.

If you hand it out for free you get to Gitmo. There's no profit in making a deal with you, you have no money you could offer.

Re: Snowden is cheaper (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#47328263)

You know, sometimes I absolutely hate it when you say things that make sense.

There's no profit in making a deal with you, you have no money you could offer.

This is one of those times.

Re: Snowden is cheaper (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47330685)

Sorry. I promise to watch more Fox News 'til that last shred of sensibility is gone, too.

Depends... (1)

Grog6 (85859) | about 4 months ago | (#47328393)

On how guilty the ones accusing you of treason actually are, IMHO.

Who do you think is the traitor here, Snowden?

I certainly don't think so, and neither do a bunch of other people. We all get to vote this fall. :)

I realize all the good jobs are in the Govt; around here they get handed down from generation to generation, lol.

That doesn't make me any more supportive of the whole Gestapo-ization of America; I think that's a bad thing, personally.

Re:Snowden is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327885)

so wait, any past-tense bastard selling american secrets to russia wasnt a spy but a thief?

Re:Snowden is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327923)

american paid by russians is not guilty of treason but merely theft of high property...

wow the american justice system really does blow BIG DONKEY DICK

Re:Snowden is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328665)

Do you have any proof that Snowden sold secrets to the Russian government, or are you making shit up again?

That's what I thought.

Re:Snowden is cheaper (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 4 months ago | (#47329985)

Selling it is a federal offense.
Giving it away is treason.

Repeating Big Lies from authoritarians makes you either a fascist or a monarchist. Which is it?

Re:Snowden is cheaper (1)

Calydor (739835) | about 4 months ago | (#47330681)

Which one makes you not have a sense of humor?

Smacks of Carmack (2)

Raystonn (1463901) | about 4 months ago | (#47327745)

This smacks of the same crap Id is trying to pull off on Carmack (http://popcultureblog.dallasnews.com/2014/05/zenimax-and-id-software-have-filed-a-lawsuit-against-oculus-vr-and-dallas-based-john-carmack-is-in-the-middle.html/). Apparently employers think they own any knowledge an employee gains while on the job. Sure, secrets are secrets. But is *everything* they learned on the job is a secret?

Re:Smacks of Carmack (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327825)

Sure, secrets are secrets. But is *everything* they learned on the job is a secret?

No, not everything.

But if it's something you're trying to sell it for a million dollars a month, those parts are probably secret.

Re:Smacks of Carmack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47330729)

His name is public knowledge, no secrets there.

Re:Smacks of Carmack (4, Insightful)

DRJlaw (946416) | about 4 months ago | (#47328017)

But is *everything* they learned on the job is a secret?

1. When you've worked at a very high level the NSA;
2. When you are selling security information/services; and
3. When your asking price is far higher than competitive services by people who've worked at it far longer than you outside of the NSA,

What do you imagine lies in between publicly known and classified that justifies the price premium? Was he developing security procedures on his own time or at his second job?

Re:Smacks of Carmack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329897)

Not saying it's solely the case, but people pay extra for celebrity all the time. That's why ex-politicians (or current ones) can fetch six figures for giving speeches and I can't get shit for mine. No matter if we're uttering the same words.

Re:Smacks of Carmack (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 4 months ago | (#47328251)

Sure, secrets are secrets. But is *everything* they learned on the job is a secret?

Ask the CIA -- they would probably stamp TOP SECRET on his forehead and mark him as classified if they were allowed. NSA, well, they're a part of the army AND part of national security. You're not dealing with standard trade secrets here, you're dealing with national secrets. Usually they err on the side of caution with those, as we've seen with all the denied/delayed/redacted FOIA requests lately.

He seems like a bright guy and knows his way around political circles, but starting a company that appears to be based on what he did for the government, and charging fees that appear to bank on brand recognition gained while working for the government....

That's like being the head of the IRS and then going into private business as a tax consultant for megacorps and charging similar rates. It's going to raise a few red flags.

Re:Smacks of Carmack (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 4 months ago | (#47329065)

but zero audit flags. right? RIGHT?

Re:Smacks of Carmack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329633)

That's like being the head of the IRS and then going into private business as a tax consultant for megacorps and charging similar rates. It's going to raise a few red flags.

Not quite the same at all. Last I checked while the US federal tax code might be so cryptic to be effectively unparsable to any normal person, it's not a SECRET. The civilian branches of government are a completely different monster...

Oooops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327771)

So Snowden's real crime was not selling his secrets?

Re:Oooops (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47328009)

Yup. He had no money to bargain with for a sweeter deal.

Alan Grayson (D-FL) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327773)

^^^
OWS

He doesn't need to reveal secrets (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 4 months ago | (#47327795)

He needs to hire people who have the skills and experience addressing specific vulnerabilities. Ideally those people got that outside of TS work. He is the rainmaker that opens doors.

Re:He doesn't need to reveal secrets (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 4 months ago | (#47327979)

He needs to hire people who have the skills and experience addressing specific vulnerabilities. Ideally those people got that outside of TS work. He is the rainmaker that opens doors.

Judging by his cozy reception at last Defcon this shouldn't be a problem at all.

Re:He doesn't need to reveal secrets (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 months ago | (#47329129)

Exactly. He doesn't need to do squat. He's implicitly selling the idea that he will be using all those secrets to help out his clients, but it's a flim-flam; he doesn't actually have to do it. And he was the head of the NSA, an administrator...what's the chance he knows much in the way of recent technical details anyway?

Future irony alert (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 4 months ago | (#47327863)

One day soon, "Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL)" will be a lobbyist. Welcome to revolving-door government, Congressman.

remind me (3, Interesting)

sribe (304414) | about 4 months ago | (#47327945)

Am I confused, or is this the same amoral sack of shit who lied to Congress with a straight face about NSA activities???

Re:remind me (4, Interesting)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 4 months ago | (#47328793)

Am I confused, or is this the same amoral sack of shit who lied to Congress with a straight face about NSA activities???

Yep. Circumventing the law, lying to Congress, sounds like a perfect match for the banking industry.

Re:remind me (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 4 months ago | (#47328959)

Yes, I think it's the same sack of shit that was involved in directing funds to the IRA in the 80's.

Re:remind me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329139)

>Yes, I think it's the same sack of shit that was involved in directing funds to the IRA in the 80's.

And so part of the scum who tried to kill my mother [bbc.co.uk] . She's still alive and well by the way, but many others died.

The NSA need a proper auditing and tracking data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47327947)

protocals. They need to adhere to the Federal Enterprise Architecture Data Reference Model.

Re:The NSA need a proper auditing and tracking dat (2)

CaptnZilog (33073) | about 4 months ago | (#47328331)

protocals. They need to adhere to the Federal Enterprise Architecture Data Reference Model.

That is obviously misnamed, Data and Reference need to be reversed, so it's the "Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Data Model", or to shorten it the "FEAR Data Model".

As opposed to someone that's crossed the line? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 4 months ago | (#47327973)

The congressman from the House of Representatives reminds the bankers (and Edward Snowden, should he be listening) that selling top secret information is a federal offense.

FTFY.

The godlistener (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328183)

Beatuful client secrets you have there, a shame if something were to happen to them.

Closing the barn door after the horses are gone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328199)

And we all know Keith commands 7 figure fees from bankers because of his cybersecurity savvy. Yeah. Right. That's it.

Dunno why he always reminds me of the Agent Richard Gill character from Hackers (1) I'm WHAT?! [google.com]

You're a boner, Keith. Snowden sends his regards.

Just think of the precedent set.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328307)

Cant convict snowden of anything is alexander is profiting from those same secrets.

his services cost $1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47328447)

That's all he's worth...

No no its ok (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 months ago | (#47328779)

It is ok if a government official sells state secrets, or gives preferential treatment to industry for money. This is the reason why they get high power government jobs n the first place. Look at the FCC, for instance. Their chairman is directly owned by industry. It is only plebs like Snowden that get prosecuted.

$600,000 a month? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 4 months ago | (#47328839)

I could buy some needy obstetrician a malpractice policy for that amount.

senile old man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329587)

Saw this guy speak earlier this week. Old fool hasn't retired, he stood up on stage trying to convince everyone that NSA are the good guys and are doing exactly what they were told to do by the courts so it's ok and now Sonwden leaks have lead directly to the terrorism in Africa.

selling top secret information is federal offense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329801)

So what? So is perjury. Or warrantless collection of call records and content. Or colluding with foreign nations' secret services in order to help each other breaking the laws of either land. Or sabotage of critical infrastructure (which counts, according to the U.S.' reconning, as terrorism), including the national security.

Does that congressman really believe that Alexander would care a flying shit about committing yet another felony, in particular if the price for his treason is right?

What perjury? I don't remember him doing that... (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about 4 months ago | (#47330451)

Where did he conduct perjury? I don't think he did. He LIED plenty but that is not a crime. Contempt of Congress etc? Well, something they seem to love to do is to NOT swear in these officials "out of respect" so while you may testify to congress under oath and they may require you to do so, these people are allowed to skip the disrespectful procedure. (Besides they feel there are legitimate public lies these officials have to make from time to time... which they could simply decline or put it off for the private session... which again, they probably don't do under oath.)

Well, I for one, have to wish him well... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47329969)

Why? He's from my hometown (Syracuse N.Y.) - & hopefully, he's learned how to do things BETTER this round!

* I honestly believe he *may* have just been following orders, & that HE might have been the ONLY somewhat honest guy with morals & decency there @ the NSA... his 'flunkies/stooges' beneath him though? They're the ones that outright FUCKED UP, scanning ex-girlfriends & ex-wives + worst of ALL, getting caught (not exactly 'top marks' that, considering they're supposed to be 'expert' @ covert ops & what-not!).

The reason I state that? He's military... those guys FOLLOW ORDERS, it's how they roll/what they do, even the top brass field-grade officers like him (they answer to "the man"...).

Still - what they were doing? It's too much POWER for anyone & too much temptation to abuse, ala "absolute power, corrupting absolutely"... & personally? I think since the house voted for defunding them, THEY know it's going to be used ESPECIALLY vs. those that "live on face/appearances/image" the most - politicians themselves!

I.E.-> Want them to "dance to your tune"? Be a SHAME to let your wife KNOW you're 'boppin'' your secretary Senator/Congressman, etc.!

For the "ROI" in terms of what was invested in that system (PRISM) as well? Give me a break - saying they stopped 54++ terrorist activities?? From what I read, it was only 1 (if that)... no, it was DESIGNED for abuse & blackmail imo, mostly (& not by those operating it like him, but those HE answered to).

APK

P.S.=> I mean, put it THIS way: I'm 50 yrs. of age, those of you MY age or near to it (past your 20's when you're "hormone driven solely" in other words), learn that women are enough to give an aspirin a headache, & you LEARN (sometimes the HARD way) to control that in yourself... you've always got it in you, wanting chicks, but you learn to let go when you should, & not to "force the issue" OR make it the "center of your life" too... thus, I am certain from that perspective? He's NOT the type that 'scanned ex's' as I noted the younger FOOLS there being caught doing... probably never entered his mind & offended his morals + ethics (it would me & would have since my 30's, not so much my 20's though - then my "little head" did a LOT of my thinking, & it's true of most males imo + experience before you're older/more mature) - however, the fools getting caught doing that f'd it up for ALL of the NSA, including him... apk

Hush Money Perhaps? (1)

careysub (976506) | about 4 months ago | (#47330243)

Hmmm. The Director of the NSA might encounter all sorts of information about the Big Money Boys that they would rather not be known generally. Would that information necessarily be classified? But whether or not it is, being paid NOT to disclose it would surely not be a violation of security. Wall Streeters might regard a million a month mighty cheap insurance...

He already made the sale, this is just the collect (1)

smugfunt (8972) | about 4 months ago | (#47330265)

This venture, it seems to me, is just a way to legitimize the payback for services he has already rendered while he was at the NSA. His 'clients' already know who they are, and they will expect to get nothing more concrete for their million per month than his continuing influence (or perhaps silence) in certain matters.

The negative space isn't a national secret, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 4 months ago | (#47330839)

only the exact demarcation of its extent. If I know the NSA has a secret underground mole robot tapping in to buried data lines, I'm not giving away a national secret if I tell my client, "Y'know, lets run our data lines on phone poles," so long as I don't tell them exactly why I like that idea.
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