Richard Clarke, the former cybersecurity czar under President George W. Bush, had some choice words about the National Security Agency at the Cloud Security Alliance Summit, Search Security reports.
Clarke, the unofficial opening speaker at summit, said the NSA was “very good” at collecting intelligence but had also created the “potential for a police state.”
Clarke, who has also served as a counter-terrorism czar, made the comments while detailing his involvement in a 2013 report for President Obama that reviewed the NSA’s data collection capabilities.
Despite Edward Snowden’s allegations about massive civilian spying and extreme backlash over the agency’s metadata collection and domestic surveillance, Clarke maintained that the agency has remained a force for good. Still, Clarke urged greater government involvement as the agency could potentially pave the way for a police state without proper oversight.
Brandan Blevins, writing for Search Security, writes:
Clarke warned that such measures are needed sooner rather than later. Harkening back to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which triggered a rash of security-focused legislation such as the Patriot Act that laid the foundation for the intelligence-gathering capabilities the U.S. government has today, he said another large terrorism event could push the country further toward a police state.
Overall, Clarke said he had faith in the employees of the NSA, believing them all to be “incredibly intelligent” and committed to the preservation of human rights and U.S. security.
However, Clarke was extremely uncomfortable with the NSA’s reported $US10 million payment to security vendor RSA in exchange for their weakening of encryption standards.
In regards to this, Clarke said that “the U.S. government has to get out of the business of f—ing with encryption standards.”
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