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Ocean writes: "While it's not uncommon for former government employees to be granted patents for their inventions, Alexander is thought to be the first ex-NSA director to apply for patents "directly related to the job he had in government," said Harris."

Gen. Keith B. Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 12, 2013. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Gen. Keith B. Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 12, 2013. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)


Keith Alexander: Why I'm Worth $1 Million a Month to Wall Street

By Max Ocean, Common Dreams

30 July 14

 

Critics say Keith Alexander's rapid move to the private sector is cause for concern

ormer NSA Director Keith Alexander says his services warrant a fee of up to a million dollars, due to a cyber-surveillance technique he and his partners at his new security firm IronNet Cybersecurity have developed, Foreign Policy reported on Tuesday. The claim follows reporting earlier this month that Alexander is slated to head a 'cyber-war council' backed by Wall Street.

Alexander claims that the new technology is different from anything the NSA has done as it uses "behavioral models" to predict hackers' actions ahead of time.

In his article, "The NSA's Cyber-King Goes Corporate," Foreign Policy journalist Shane Harris says that Alexander stated that IronNet has already signed contracts with three separate companies, although Alexander declined to name them. He plans on filing at least nine patents for the technology and finishing the testing phase of it by the end of September.

While it's not uncommon for former government employees to be granted patents for their inventions, Alexander is thought to be the first ex-NSA director to apply for patents "directly related to the job he had in government," said Harris.

"Alexander is on firm legal ground so long as he can demonstrate that his invention is original and sufficiently distinct from any other patented technologies," according to Harris. Therefore when he files the patents, if he can prove that he "invented the technology on his own time and separate from his core duties, he might have a stronger argument to retain the exclusive rights to the patent."

According to critics, Alexander's very experience as the NSA director has informed his move to the corporate sector—whether or not he developed the technology independently—and that in itself is cause for alarm and a possible investigation.

"Alexander stands to profit directly off of his taxpayer-funded experience, and may do so with a competitive advantage over other competing private firms," Carl Franzen pointed out at The Verge.

"Is it ethical for an NSA chief to pursue patents on technologies directly related to their work running the agency?" wrote Xeni Jardin of boingboing. "Will the Justice Department investigate? Don't hold your breath."

Journalist Dan Froomkin of The Intercept weighed in on Twitter:

As independent journalist Marcy Wheeler pointed out on her blog, there are a multitude of questions still remaining concerning the legality of Alexander's services, that are unrelated to the issue of patent legality. Among those she poses this:

with Alexander out of his NSA, where will he and his profitable partners get the data they need to model threats? How much of this model will depend on the Cyber Information sharing plan that Alexander has demanded for years? How much will Alexander’s privatized solutions to the problem he couldn’t solve at NSA depend on access to all the information the government has, along with immunity?

To what degree is CISA about making Keith Alexander rich?

The NSA's own actions under Alexander seem to have laid the groundwork for the exact cyber-defense market the retired general is now looking to exploit.

When Alexander first addressed Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association shortly after his retirement in March, company executives were apparently most interested in learning about destructive programs such as Wiper, which the U.S. government has claimed was used in cyber-attacks originating in North Korea and Iran.

Harris says the singling out of programs like Wiper is "a supreme irony" in the eyes of many computer security experts, who say that it is nothing more than "a cousin of the notorious Stuxnet virus, which was built by the NSA — while Alexander was in charge — in cooperation with Israeli intelligence."

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+32 # Michaeljohn 2014-07-30 11:12
Money,money,mon ey,money
Money,money,mon ey,money
Money,money,mon ey,money
Money,money,money
Do you have any money today ?
 
 
+35 # tedrey 2014-07-30 11:35
Will the patents be kept secret for security reasons?
 
 
+1 # RobertMStahl 2014-08-08 07:00
THE ONLY SOLUTION IS william binney's THIN THREAD!!!! Support him all the way to the Supreme court.
 
 
+42 # Carol R 2014-07-30 11:46
Why should anyone with power be trusted when there is money to be made?
 
 
+25 # BrainiacV 2014-07-30 12:22
I can give you a million reasons why not.
 
 
+5 # Fairbs 2014-07-30 12:25
What up Deaux?
 
 
+18 # ijv 2014-07-30 12:29
"IronNet Cybersecurity?" A net made of iron will quickly rust and crumble to dust when exposed to the elements. Sounds like it has little to do with security and mostly to do with singling out individuals. Perhaps he's been sitting in his captain's chair too long and no longer has a grasp of the reality outside.
 
 
+22 # JToeppen 2014-07-30 12:30
A US patent becomes invalid if the individual did not actually invent the claimed technology. If it was developed by a Government lab, then the Government owns the rights to the invention that may subsequently be licensed by individuals and firms. I have seen non-participato ry administrators illegally listed as inventors on patents developed by people they administrated. This will invalidate the patent or application if it is pursued. The classification of a technology or withholding information about a patent application from the inventor is not uncommon. Patent applications face many challenges when filed, public, and before being awarded. This may be a case where that really needs to happen. Will the real inventors please step forward?
 
 
+16 # angelfish 2014-07-30 12:35
In my opinion, this Cretin isn't worth a pinch of Owl Poop as a human being. My dearest wish is for him, and his ilk, to become like King Midas. HAVE ALL the money in the World and ONLY be able to eat IT.
 
 
+20 # amye 2014-07-30 12:40
This guy is using the government for his wealth! He's stealing government information to make it rich! Whatever patents hes trying for belong to the US Government and the tax payers!!
 
 
+4 # RLF 2014-07-31 05:14
Stealing from the Government? Seems to be the American Business model for the last 30 years. Create nothing and get subsidies from the gov. to do nothing. This guy is just beating the Chinese to the draw...give them a few years and they will steal this info from some company getting rich by producing for 5 seconds in China something that will last 5 seconds.
 
 
+20 # Jim Rocket 2014-07-30 13:03
It would be interesting for someone to investigate how people like Alexander got their positions. There's good reason to believe that honest and ethical people in these organizations refused to implement un-democratic and illegal policies. They either resign on principle or are forced out leaving the toadies like Alexander and James Clapper to serve their dark masters.
 
 
+2 # James Marcus 2014-07-30 15:52
A Minor Merchant-of-Dea th, compared to Obama, and Many Others.
Darkness Does as Darkness Is.

Bring on the Jedi...... to deal with ALL these Ass Holes,
at once!
 
 
+12 # phrixus 2014-07-30 18:49
"Is it ethical for an NSA chief to pursue patents on technologies directly related to their work running the agency?"

"NSA chief" + "ethical" = oxymoron
 
 
+12 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-07-30 20:30
How can Alexander own something developed while he was a government employee. But, ah: ‘Why I'm Worth $1 Million a Month to Wall Street...becaus e I know all your guilty secrets!' Yes?
 
 
+4 # shawnsargent2000 2014-07-31 11:09
This Screams -- Gigantic Conflict of Interest !
Mr. Alexander, is trying to say that he invented the technology, I don't believe it period.
 
 
+2 # tm7devils 2014-07-31 23:57
Anyone who would lie to congress while working for the government has no moral constraints...
 
 
+3 # Dust 2014-08-01 12:53
I'm curious if the guy has ever even written a line of code.
 

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