Menu
Lawmakers fail to ask NSA chief about agency's malware plans

Lawmakers fail to ask NSA chief about agency's malware plans

Instead, a House subcommittee deferred questions about 'damage' of leaks to a classified briefing

General Keith Alexander (left) at a recent hearing.

General Keith Alexander (left) at a recent hearing.

U.S. lawmakers had a chance to pose questions to the director of the National Security Agency on Wednesday but declined to ask him about reports that the agency plans to install malware on millions of computers.

General Keith Alexander did not volunteer information about the reported NSA program to deploy tens of thousands of copies of surveillance malware on computers and networking devices around the world.

Committee members didn't ask him about it, either. Instead, committee members praised the soon-to-retire Alexander for his years of service at the NSA and Cyber Command. "A grateful nation salutes you," said Representative Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat.

Alexander was testifying before a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, where he talked about the need for U.S. Cyber Command, the sister agency to the NSA, to get real-time cyberthreat information from U.S. businesses.

Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican, asked if the subcommittee would address questions about holding a briefing on the latest leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the source of the reports on the agency's malware plan.

Wednesday's hearing was focused on Cyber Command, not NSA issues, said Intelligence Subcommittee Chairman Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican. The committee would schedule a classified intelligence briefing "where we can go deeply into the damage done to our national security" by the Snowden leaks, he said.

Alexander's main focus at the hearing was to advocate for legislation that would allow U.S. businesses to share cyberthreat information with Cyber Command and other government agencies. He called on Congress to pass legislation that would protect businesses from lawsuits if they accidentally overshare information.

"We have to have a way to understand when Wall Street is under attack," Alexander said. "Right now, we get it after the fact. We get called up, it's not real time, and as a consequence, we can't defend them."

The government and businesses need to be able to share cyberthreat information "at network speed," he said.

Some privacy and digital rights groups have questioned information-sharing legislation, saying it could allow businesses to share personal information unrelated to cyberattacks.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyGovernment use of ITExploits / vulnerabilitiesU.S. National Security AgencyU.S. Cyber CommandU.S. Department of DefenseU.S. House of RepresentativesJim LangevinMac ThornberryKeith AlexanderEdward SnowdenVicky Hartzler

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments