As part of its 2013 Cybersecurity Summit, Washington Post Live convened leading national security officials, industry experts and journalists for conversations addressing cyber risks and the future of cyber defense.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman, House Intelligence Committee
Right now [the United States has] the only intelligence services on the planet that are under siege from both its adversaries and from its internal support system, the citizens of the United States. I don’t blame the Russians for fanning the flames. I don’t blame the Chinese for fanning the flames. I don’t blame the Brazilians. Matter of fact, I meet with both parliamentary members from European Union states — had some meetings yesterday — and the E.U., it seems weekly now, and they have new creative terms for what we’re doing, some of them very creative. . . . And most of that information is based on misinformation. So we spend most of our time walking through what we don’t do on these programs. So if you sense a degree of frustration, it’s because we do spend so much time in the oversight process.
Now, here’s how we can make it better, and I think that’s where the president was coming from, and we agree. Can we do some things that improve transparency? Are there some things we had classified that maybe we could declassify at some point to give the broader public a sense that there is true oversight? I think the answer is yes. . . . [We are] trying to find these confidence builders that we think can address the public concerns and still protect these programs. If you’ve noticed, the Europeans got real quiet after the first hubbub when they realized A) what was happening and B) the value of the information to their nation-states and the sheer number of counterterrorism cases that it disrupted in their own nation-states.
The U.S. network is different than other countries’ about how much we control or don’t. If you look at China and Russia, they control completely those networks. Over 80 percent of our networks are private-sector networks.
When you try to look at battle damage assessment, if you will, of what happened [as a result of the Snowden leaks] , it’s significant and, in many cases, irreversible. We have seen certain al-Qaeda affiliates already changed the way that they communicate. That means now we have a gap that we’re going to have to try to fill. And during that gap — and as you have seen in Nairobi and other places — the planning has not stopped. Somebody gets up today that is an al-Qaeda corps or al-Qaeda affiliate whose job it is to plan the next attack.
This is a very dangerous time for us. Our threat matrix is on the rise.