Science & Technology

Lawmaker Slams Ex-NSA Chief: 'Nothing to Offer' but State Secrets



Keith Alexander, since stepping down from his position as National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command chief following last year's mass surveillance revelations, has gotten himself in the business of cybersecurity consulting.

And not everyone's comfortable with that. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fl.) yesterday published letters he sent to the "Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable and the Clearing House—all of which Alexander reportedly has approached about his services," according to Wired. The congressman, who sits on both the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, gave a roundabout warning to former spy chief:

Disclosing or misusing classified information for profit is, as Mr. Alexander well knows, a felony. 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.

He concluded by turning up the heat and asks the organizations to be transparent:

Please send me all information related to your negotiations with Mr. Alexander, so that Congress can verify whether or not he is selling military and cybersecurity secrets to the financial industry for personal gain.

House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Grayson isn't the only skeptic. In his letter, he cites top computer security expert Bruce Schneier, who has similar concerns. Regarding Alexander's eye-popping rates, $600,000 to $1 million a month, earlier this week Schneier asked his readers to "think of how much actual security they could buy with that $600K a month. Unless he's giving them classified information."

There's a pinch of irony that Alexander, who does a lot of handwringing over Edward Snowden for exposing government secrets, is now on the receiving end suspicion for similar actions.