While US Army Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency, was barred from this year’s DefCon hackers conference, Black Hat, another like-minded conference, welcomed him with open arms.
Well, not everybody at the conference did.
One hacker in particular, felt the need to interrupt Alexander’s his presentation, Wednesday morning US time.
Alexander was about a half hour into his talk when a 30-year-old security consultant named Jon McCoy shouted “Freedom!”
“Exactly,” responded Alexander. “We stand for freedom.”
“Bulls***!” McCoy shouted.
“Not bad,” Alexander said, as applause broke out in the crowd. “But I think what you’re saying is that in these cases, what’s the distinction, where’s the discussion and what tools do we have to stop this.”
“No, I’m saying I don’t trust you!” shouted McCoy.
“You lied to Congress. Why would people believe you’re not lying to us right now?” another voice in the crowd added.
Alexander went on to deny that he lied to Congress, and plead with the hackers to help the NSA become better if they think it so bad.
“The whole reason I came here was to ask you to help you to help us make it better,” said the general, according to Greenberg. “And if you disagree with what we’re doing, you should help us twice as much.”
The NSA and other intelligence agencies regularly attend the two hacker conferences in an attempt to find, court, and hire … well … people as talented as late leaker Edward Snowden.
Needless to say, it’s important to note that intelligence analysts have received mixed receptions since the history of their appearances at these conferences.
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