Despite rumors and general concern the National Security Agency (NSA) is battling other federal agencies for the lead role in the country's cybersecurity efforts, new comments from government officials state otherwise.
"We do not want to run cybersecurity for the U.S. government," Lt. Gen Keith Alexander said during the RSA security conference in San Francisco, California. "I think we need to dispel the rumors."
Alexander has led the NSA's code-breaking and communications division since 2005, and is unaware of who will be selected to lead the White House's cybersecurity department. The NSA has the ability to help prevent cyber attacks by making sure networks are properly secure, and will likely continue to provide security for military agencies.
The Department of Homeland Security currently oversees cybersecurity for civilian agencies, though it's possible that can change once President Obama announces changes after a mandated 60-day cybersecurity review.
Alexander's remarks come a month after the head of the U.S. cybersecurity center said there was a strong power grab by the NSA. Furthermore, Rob Beckstrom said the NSA's influence over how the National Cybersecurity Center handled cyber issues was problematic towards the agency.
"While acknowledging the critical importance of NSA To our intelligence efforts, I believe this is a bad strategy on multiple grounds," Beckstrom wrote in a note to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Analysts expect President Obama to make a decision in the next couple weeks about a cybersecurity department and who will run it, which should help ease worries of an internal government power struggle from several agencies.
Something must be done, as there is growing concern of organized cyber attacks from China and Eastern Europe. China has denied its role in cyber attacks, but the Department of Defense (DoD) is more worried about protecting more than 7 million DoD computers across the world.
quote: There was talk of a potential run in the 2000 presidential race by Gore as early as January 1998. Gore discussed the possibility of running during a March 9, 1999 interview with CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. In response to Wolf Blitzer's question: "Why should Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination process, support you instead of Bill Bradley," Gore responded:I'll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be. But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.UCLA professor of information studies Philip E. Agre and journalist Eric Boehlert argued that three articles in Wired News led to the creation of the widely spread urban legend that Gore claimed to have "invented the Internet," which followed this interview. In addition, computer professionals and congressional colleagues argued in his defense. Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn stated that "we don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he 'invented' the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet." Cerf would also later state: "Al Gore had seen what happened with the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956, which his father introduced as a military bill. It was very powerful. Housing went up, suburban boom happened, everybody became mobile. Al was attuned to the power of networking much more than any of his elective colleagues.His initiatives led directly to the commercialization of the Internet. So he really does deserve credit." Former Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich also stated: "In all fairness, it's something Gore had worked on a long time. Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness, Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet, and the truth is -- and I worked with him starting in 1978 when I got [to Congress], we were both part of a "futures group" -- the fact is, in the Clinton administration, the world we had talked about in the '80s began to actually happen."Finally, Wolf Blitzer (who conducted the original 1999 interview) stated in 2008 that: "I didn't ask him about the Internet. I asked him about the differences he had with Bill Bradley [...] Honestly, at the time, when he said it, it didn't dawn on me that this was going to have the impact that it wound up having, because it was distorted to a certain degree and people said they took what he said, which was a carefully phrased comment about taking the initiative and creating the Internet to -- I invented the Internet. And that was the sort of shorthand, the way his enemies projected it and it wound up being a devastating setback to him and it hurt him, as I'm sure he acknowledges to this very day."Gore, himself, would later poke fun at the controversy. In 2000, while on the The Late Show with David Letterman he read Letterman's Top 10 List (which for this show was called, "Top Ten Rejected Gore - Lieberman Campaign Slogans") to the audience. Number nine on the list was: "Remember, America, I gave you the Internet, and I can take it away!" A few years later in 2005, when Gore was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award "for three decades of contributions to the Internet" at the Webby Awards he joked in his acceptance speech (limited to five words according to Webby Awards rules): "Please don't recount this vote." He was introduced by Vint Cerf who used the same format to joke: "We all invented the Internet." Gore, who was then asked to add a few more words to his speech, stated: "It is time to reinvent the Internet for all of us to make it more robust and much more accessible and use it to reinvigorate our democracy."