I’m not a hacker, but I sure as hell admire them. Hackers are associated with computers, but a hacker is anyone who tries to find a different use, or a way to get something to work in an unintended fashion. They have existed since someone picked up a rock and figured out instead of surrounding the campfire, they could sling it at someone. The difference between those hackers and hackers you have heard about getting arrested is, there are hackers and there are criminals. There are football coaches and there are criminals. There are bankers and there are criminals. Get it?
I have actually been to several of these DEFCONs and I always learn something new at each one. One of them is, hackers tend to be paranoid and wary of authority, making a particular guest a surprise.
Today, DEFCON’s keynote speaker was General Keith Alexander of the National Security Agency.
He also runs a unified command called US Cyber Command, one of the most arrogant organizations in the history of modern warfare. Well, maybe the Russian Navy during their 1904-05 war with Japan was more arrogant. Don’t hold that against General Alexander. You can only work with the cards you are dealt.
When we say “General” on the BSP blog, we mean 4-star general. For the uninitiated, 4-star generals are Big Time. 4-star generals can push buttons that end human history. They get their own multi-engined intercontinental aircraft. Mark my words, folks, General Alexander is going to be the US President one day IF he chooses to lower himself into that mix. He feigned ignorance over how to run a Power Point presentation today, so he had one of the DEFCON kids come up to help him. LOL. General Alexander has four master’s degrees.
Today, the DEFCON coordinator asked General Alexander if they could see their NSA file. General Alexander said NSA does not keep files on American citizens, nor do they “spy” on American citizens. On this point, he is correct. NSA does not spy on Americans. NSA is too busy to spy on Americans. There’s this thing called “Intelligence Oversight” which prevents it. I know you’ve seen a lot of things in the press about it. Almost all of them are untrue. Almost all of them are designed to sell advertising or papers. I know, you hate to hear it but the National Security Agency doesn’t give a s**t whether you are cheating on your spouse, stealing cars off a used car lot or even smoking dope in your basement. In the grand scope of things, you are pretty unimportant.
General Alexander stated the belief NSA has files on American citizens are “absolute nonsense.” Perfect.
One of my current colleagues knows him. He told me General Alexander could get down to a technical level wherever you want to go. Meaning, he understands stuff some of us are too helpless to understand. I heard him speak about a month ago. The man is the best this nation has to offer.