Wired has put up a profile of Army General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA. The picture the article paints is kind of horrifying.
Besides being leading the world’s largest intelligence agency, Alexander is also in charge of the Central Security Service, US Cyber Command, the Navy’s 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army. He basically controls his own military.
His vision of cybersecurity boils down to putting the Internet under his personal control.
Here’s a quick excerpt from the Wired profile:
In his telling, the threat is so mind-bogglingly huge that the nation has little option but to eventually put the entire civilian Internet under his protection, requiring tweets and emails to pass through his filters, and putting the kill switch under the government’s forefinger. “What we see is an increasing level of activity on the networks,” he said at a recent security conference in Canada. “I am concerned that this is going to break a threshold where the private sector can no longer handle it and the government is going to have to step in.”
While the concept of engaging in cyberwarfare seems like something out of science fiction, General Alexander has been preparing for such a scenario for nearly eight years. Stuxnnet, the malware developed by the NSA in collaboration with the CIA and Israeli intelligence, was used to physically damage centrifuges used in Iran’s nuclear program in 2007.
That was only a first step. According to Bloomberg, Alexander has asked for nearly $4.7 billion in additional funding in 2014 alone to further bolster the United States’ “cyberspace operations.”
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