The concept of government employees “retiring” into cushy private sector gigs is certainly nothing new.
The practice, which has grown increasingly common as the relationship between large corporations and the public sector grows worryingly closer by the day, is often used as sort of a golden parachute for former employees of the United States who want to use their storied political connections and longstanding lawmaker status as a reference letter for prospective employers, or anyone who is willing to pay top dollar for inside access in the form of former candidates.
Now it seems the next member in line for a big payday is none other than the previous head of the NSA General Keith Alexander, who has announced in an interview on Tuesday that he will be charging independent companies out of up to a million dollars per pop for “advice” on how to protect their networks from outside threats.
Alexander also believes that his “unique” technology will give certain industries a leg up where they may otherwise struggle to find their footing.
However with all the secrecy still surrounding the announcement, it’s difficult to verify just how effective his techniques may be until they’re eventually deployed in the field.
Despite the dubious nature of his claims, he sounds excited and assured that what he’s going to bring to the table will be unlike anything the industry has seen thus far.
“We’ve got a great solution. We’ve got to prove that it works,” Alexander said. “It will be another way of looking at cybersecurity that gives us greater capabilities than we’ve had in the past.”
Developed in conjunction with his business partners at the freshly-formed IronNet Cybersecurity, Alexander claims his extensive experience in the field of IT security will provide him and his team with the real-world knowledge that financial firms, telecommunication companies, and large corporate entities will need to defend themselves and their networks in the new Wild West of online threats.
Of course, the only way they’ll have access to the treasure trove of information contained within the general’s head is to pay a hefty cost upfront, preferably doled out large, unmarked bills in a suitcase underneath a parking garage somewhere in southern-D.C.
At least nine patents will be filed on IronNet’s behalf, several of which could potentially change the game for retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus who both had the POS systems of their stores compromised last year when millions of credit cards fell into the hands of criminals over months of subdued spying operations that cost each company millions by the time the fallout of the blast was measured and quantified.
Alexander has been careful to assure that none of the technologies he’s taken away from his time at the NSA will put himself or his company at risk of future litigation, consulting with both government and private lawyers to verify that all the patents fall in line with the statutes which allow officials to sell projects they may have been working on while they were still serving out their public sentence.
As the longest serving director of the NSA in its decades-long history, it’s not exactly suspicious to think that the general might have a couple tricks up his sleeve that would help the private sector more effectively defend themselves from the big bad interwebs and all the hackers who inhabit it.
That said, the line between where public service ends and personal profit begin is a tricky one, and something that Alexander will need to tread lightly upon if he hopes to avoid any more stains on his already shaky public image from here on out.