Friday morning, the White House announced it will elevate Cyber Command to a full unified combatant command. Within 60 days, the Secretary of Defense will recommend whether Cyber Command should also be split from the National Security Agency.
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The Government Accountability Office last week published a report that, among other things, weighs in on the pros and cons of the NSA/CYBERCOM “dual-hat” system (pursuant to which the director of the NSA/CSS and commander of CYBERCOM are the same person). The report deserves attention but also some criticism and context. Here’s a bit of all three.
1. What is the “dual-hat” issue?
In light of Michael Sulmeyer’s excellent recent piece on splitting NSA and CYBERCOM, which ran at War on the Rocks last week, I want to pull together some of the key legal and policy developments of the past year in a single narrative. My aim is to put them in context with each other in a way that will provide useful background for those new to this issue, while also putting a spotlight on the deconfliction-of-equities issue that the split proposal raises.
I thought the Windows tools were the most damaging the Shadow Brokers have to offer. Today, with the announcement of the Shadow Broker’s Data Dump of the Month club, I may need to eat some crow.
On November 30th, the House passed H.R. 6393, the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY'17. While it remains to be seen what if anything ultimately emerges at the end of the process, I'd like to highlight some items in the current bill that I found particularly interesting:
- two involve attempts to give SSCI and HPSCI greater awareness of presidential policy directives and MOUs involving the IC;
What is the most surprising discovery a law firm partner makes when he jumps to the National Security Agency? I direct that and other questions at Glenn Gerstell, who has just finished six months in the job as General Counsel at the National Security Agency.
Admiral Michael Rogers, the Commander of U.S. Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency, spoke at the Atlantic Council on his strategic priorities for 2016.
Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued an injunction against the NSA's bulk metadata collection program in his ruling in Klayman v. Obama.
Understanding the Deeper History of FISA and 702: Charlie Savage's Power Wars on Fiber Optic Cables and Transit Authority
NSA surveillance activity sometimes labeled "transit authority" is a very useful case study of the way in which legal and policy questions may be impacted by technological change.
Last week, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted Ben, along with Laura Donohue of Georgetown law school, former NSA Director Michael Hayden, and Robin Simcox of the Henry Jackson Society, to discuss the future of surveillance reform in a post-Snowden world. What have we learned about NSA surveillance activities and its oversight mechanisms since June 2013? In what way should U.S. intelligence operations be informed by their potential impact on U.S.