December 16, 2015

Former National Security Officials: Battling Encryption is a Bad Idea

Source: Fortune

Journalist: Don Reisinger

Some of the people who have the most intimate knowledge on U.S. government intelligence aren’t so sure encryption is such a bad thing.

Speaking to the Washington Post in interviews published on Tuesday, several former national security officials, including Mike McConnell, who ran the National Security Agency (NSA) in the 1990s and Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, said that the U.S. government’s obsession with stopping tech companies from encrypting communications is a bad idea. Chertoff went so far as to call efforts at undermining encryption “misguided.”


“I think that deliberately compromising security to make it easier for law enforcement runs the risk of simply sending the bad guys to other parts of the world where things will be fully encrypted,” Chertoff told the Washington Post. His comments were echoed by McConnell, who told the Postthat the NSA has the best electronic communications intelligence in the world and it should “learn how to deal” with encryption. Even former CIA director Michael V. Hayden, who also led the NSA for six years until 2005, said that blocking encryption would be a disaster.

Read the full article at Fortune.


  • Ben FitzGerald

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Ben FitzGerald is a partner at Lupa, a private investment firm, and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). At Lupa he leads the firm’s inve...