Would You Hire Former NSA Boss Keith Alexander For Cybersecurity Consulting?

from the he-knows-where-the-holes-he-buried-are dept

It is, of course, no surprise that former NSA boss Keith Alexander is now setting out a shingle for consulting work in the private sector. While we’d assumed he’d latch on with something like the Chertoff Group, it appears that he’s setting up his own consulting firm in which he’ll help “financial institutions looking to address cybersecurity threats.” Considering this is the guy who, just days earlier, was talking about why the NSA harmed internet cybersecurity, it kind of makes you wonder if he’s the person you’d really trust with any sort of cybersecurity consulting. Well, unless, as Marcy Wheeler has suggested, his sales pitch is “I know where all the holes I’ve left in the internet are.” Still, if you were a financial institution, would you rather hire someone who’s spent their career trying to make the internet safer… or the guy who worked hard to make it less secure?

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Comments on “Would You Hire Former NSA Boss Keith Alexander For Cybersecurity Consulting?”

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32 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

Just for the dishonest, unconstitutional approach NSA took under his authority and the fact that he defends it consistently even if it is not defensible makes him a no go for any person/company that has a minimum of ethics.

Of course financial institutions aren’t know for upholding honesty, ethics or the law at all (see: Inside Job, old but gold) so I’m fairly sure he’ll have plenty of work.

Anonymous Coward says:

How many servers has he built?

Which firewalls has he configured?

What log analysis has he done?

What code has he written or debugged or modified?

Which networks has he architected?

Or to put a finer point on it: what has this guy done besides lie, lie, lie to American people? Because if that’s his only area of expertise, I really have very little need for him. I can get that from ANYBODY.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: actual new business or old business as a mole?

When you look at how fully committed the NSA has been at undermining both security and the Constitution, who would believe that he is actually ‘retired?’ I do believe that it is a very safe bet that his unwritten duty will be to give feedback on how well the NSA’s security holes are working, if not to add more as an inside man. Anyone that is in a position to hire him needs to be monitored. If they trust Alexander enough to hire him, then they should be fired (if not imprisoned) for gross negligence and incompetence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How many servers has he built?

Consultants don’t always know how to get the technically part done. The company already has staff that can do that. Consultants spend time understanding the environment they the come up with a plan to optimize staff, equipment, procedures, or whatever in order to better increase productivity or in this case security. I won’t trust consulting from Keith Alexander but I have worked with consultants.

zip says:

"consulting work in the private sector"

I think the term “private sector” may be a bit deceptive here. I’ll bet that most (if not all) of his firm’s work will either be directly for the government or for companies trying to get government contracts. (Of course, they never want to admit this) He’ll be able to charge high prices for his “services” to these companies because they know he has an inside track and plenty of friends inside the government who owe him favors. Like most former agency heads who start “consulting” firms, it’s more about who he knows than what he knows.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

And his friends!

Well sure, if I had malicious intent.

And I’d hire former FEMA director Michael “heck of a job” Brown for emergency management. And John “torture is peachy keen” Yoo to oversee human rights. And Alberto Gonzales for competent legal oversight, defending habeas corpus and of course his recollection skills. Etc. Etc.

When when you compare Bin Laden’s hijackers to Bush II’s appointees for sheer damage done to the America, I think those hijackers owe Bin Laden an apology.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

The Higher Forms of Blackmail.

Well, it’s a form of blackmail, really. If you run a bank, and you don’t hire him, he’ll tell the New York Times that your bank is Al Quada-infiltrated, or something like that, and enough nervous depositors will pull their funds… it’s much cheaper to buy into Alexander’s “consulting” service. It’s a recurrent pattern with disgraced scoundrels. Their one asset is their disgrace, and their capacity for “recognizing” respectable citizens as “old friends.”

FM Hilton (profile) says:

What, didn't he used to work for a living?

I’m very surprised that he wasn’t offered one of those peachy private firm consulting jobs.

Oh, wait-he lied to the American people and got caught at it, led a government agency that spied on all of them, then also got caught at it.

No, now that I think about it, he’s probably lost any credibility with HR managers.

Which is why he has to set up his own shop.

I’d be inclined to tell him to just go retire already.

He’s lost any minor value as a private consultant on security matters that he once had,in such a humiliating and public way.

If he had any to begin with.

beltorak (profile) says:

This doesn’t make a lot of sense. Considering that he thinks that sacrificing demonstrable, known, proven security is a valid means of pursuing the aims of the state, I would fully expect him to be putting backdoors into my infrastructure were I to hire him. Sorry Keith “let me help your company help the government’s surveillance effort” Alexander, but I think I’ll pass.

Personanongrata says:

Incompetent Noob and Failure

Judging Keith Alexander by the organization he once directed, the National Security Agency (NSA), the very fact that a contract employee, Edward Snowden, had access to and liberated the NSA’s most prized intelligence data and the amount of time it took NSA to realize the extent of the data breach (NSA still doesn’t know the full extent of liberated data) Keith Alexander is a complete failure.

His idea of exercising prudence with finite tax payer funds is to recreate the bridge of the fictional USS Enterprise from Star Trek at NSA’s headquarters.

I wouldn’t hire Keith Alexander to pass out hand wipes in the men’s bathroom.

Cynical says:

Hire MR. TIA?

There is no way under any circumstances I would hire Gen. K. Alexander to even weed my garden. I’d end up with more weeds, and enough mulch to kill all desirable plants and probably enough fertilizer to prevent a reasonable view out the windows around the entire house. No – I would not hire Mr. Total Information Awareness for any job even if my life depended on it. I might give him enough bus fare to get him out of town – like – from San Diego to Tijuana style.

Anonymous Coward says:

There are no Americans infidels in Baghdad. Never

I’d hire him. I’ll make him my “Company’s Information Minister” to keep claiming on TV:

“There are no NSA-backdoors in our server. Never!”

“My feelings – as usual – we will slaughter them all.”

“Our initial assessment is that they will all be patched.”

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