White House, NSA Clash over Monitoring of Private Company Networks
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
General Keith Alexander
Top officials in the National Security Agency (NSA) are pushing for greater access to private-sector computer networks, all in the name of preventing cyberattacks. But the White House has insisted the NSA slow down its efforts, mainly because of privacy concerns.
Last year, the NSA lobbied for a legislative proposal that would have required companies to allow the agency to monitor their Internet activity. Businesses also would have been expected to give the agency evidence of potential cyberattacks. NSA argues that many companies are not capable of defending themselves against attacks and that this could threaten the national infrastructure.
Both the White House and the Department of Justice opposed the idea, arguing that the bill would permit unprecedented government monitoring of regular civilian Internet activity.
Aides to President Barack Obama also have told Army General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, to watch his public remarks calling for expanded powers to defend the country from hackers.
“We have had to remind him to at least be cognizant of what the administration’s policy positions are, so if he’s openly advocating for something beyond that, that is undermining the commander in chief,” an administration official told The Washington Post.
To Learn More:
White House, NSA Weigh Cybersecurity, Personal Privacy (by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post)
When Is A Cyberattack A Matter Of Defense? (by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post)
Federal Court Gives Go-Ahead to NSA Illegal Surveillance Case (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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