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?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 7:55am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    TMC, May 9th, 2014 @ 7:57am

    I wouldn't piss down his throat if his heart were on fire.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Baron von Robber, May 9th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    I would hire him!

    Then I would make him wear a clown suit, and stand on a corner with a sign, "I'm a bad clown".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:01am

    Only if it's true that the best defense is a good offense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:02am

    RSA would.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Kenneth Michaels, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:05am

    National Security Secrets

    The only value Keith Alexander brings to the table necessarily includes national security secrets. That is, it is impossible for him to consult without revealing national security secrets (either directly or indirectly) to other parties (such as those banks).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    mcinsand, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:06am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Carrie (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 8:11am

    If he tells financial institutions where to patch holes, isn't he a leaker doing critical harm to national security? We should prosecute him under the Espionage Act!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:12am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:13am

    Managers SUCK

    at consulting.

    No matter where you go, there is always some form of management making the implementation or technical requirements some sort to shit slide into oblivion!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    zip, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:17am

    "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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 8:19am

    Re: Managers SUCK

    It depends on the kind of consulting. His firm will likely hire technical people if that's the kind of consulting they offer. What Alexander brings to the table is his contacts and knowledge of the bureaucracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:28am

    Wouldn't matter to me who he knows. I wouldn't trust that fuck or anyone he brought in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    me@me.net, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:28am

    NO

    A liar I would not hire.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:32am

    I wouldn't even hire him to clean toilets

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Roger Strong (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 8:37am

    An NSA shell company?

    Kieth's probably asking his accountant: When doing taxes, how does one report secret off-the-budget income from the NSA?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2014 @ 9:04am

    definitely not!! but i bet some dumb cluck will!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, May 9th, 2014 @ 9:31am

    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."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Whoever, May 9th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    His *real* qualifications

    What he is selling is access to his contacts. He has high-level contacts in the government and access to those contacts has value. It's disgusting, but that's what he is selling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    FM Hilton, May 9th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    beltorak (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Personanongrata, May 9th, 2014 @ 10:09am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Cynical, May 9th, 2014 @ 10:20am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Groaker (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 10:34am

    Hiring Alexander

    This may have an unintended consequence. If their security gets hacked, or possibly just interacting with Alexander and his product, may change the politics of some conservatives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    AricTheRed (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 11:06am

    If by "Consultant"...

    You mean a test medium for determining the resistance of Traitors to the penetration of bullets, then yes.

    Otherwise I'd hire him as a Ukranian freedom fighter, I'm sure he'd be good at that too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), May 9th, 2014 @ 6:24pm

    Best advice you could buy

    Sure I'd hire him. Write down his every single recommendation.It would be the best advice you could buy: All you have to do is exactly the opposite of what he recommends...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2014 @ 8:12am

    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."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2014 @ 2:06pm

    Yes, but only to ensure that he meets an "unfortunate accident".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Martin, May 10th, 2014 @ 10:00pm

    No, I'd put him into prison if I could!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Craig Welch (profile), May 13th, 2014 @ 2:48am

    Well heck, Dropbox hired Condoleezza Rice, so hey ho!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.