NSA investigating top official for business ties to ex-director

It's "awkward," Keith Alexander says. Sure is.

Mar 1, 2020, 7:04 pm*

Tech

Kevin Collier 

Kevin Collier

The National Security Agency is investigating a top official for working part-time for the agency’s recently departed director’s new company.

NSA Chief Technical Officer Patrick Dowd has an arrangement with IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., which allows him to work for 20 hours a week while still helping to lead the NSA. IronNet is the brainchild of Keith Alexander, who retired as director of the NSA in March. The firm has the potential to pull in serious cash: Bloomberg reported in June that the company was pitching its services to banks for $1 million a month.

In an interview with Reuters, Alexander defended the arrangement as a way to let Dowd do what he really wants to do—sell cybersecurity advice for big money—and still serve his country.

“I wanted Pat to stay at NSA. He wanted to come on board,” Alexander said. He also admitted the arrangement was “awkward.”

NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines confirmed to the Daily Dot that the relationship was “under internal review,” but declined to provide specifics.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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*First Published: Oct 18, 2014, 2:37 pm