Jeb Bush, GOP presidential nominee, made his feelings about stricter internet security loud and clear in the last Republican party debate. Bush said that the NSA should be in charge of the country’s cybersecurity and that this would put a stop to the recent high-profile hacks on government agencies.
He cited last year’s office of Personnel Management breach, where hackers infiltrated sensitive files of millions of government employees and contractors, as a failure on Obama’s administration. “We need to make sure that we keep the country safe. This is the first priority. The cybersecurity challenges that we face, this administration failed us completely, completely. Not just the hacking of OPM, but that is — that is just shameful. 23 million files in the hands of the Chinese? So it’s not just the government — the private sector companies, it’s also our own government that needs to raise the level of our game,” said Bush.
He also blamed the current administration for not forcing technology companies to be more transparent with the government with their data and files. “There needs to be more than one meeting, there needs to complete dialogue with the large technology companies. They understand that there’s a national security risk. We ought to give them a little bit of a liability release so that they share data amongst themselves and share data with the federal government, they’re not fearful of a lawsuit,” said Bush.
However, ever since Snowden revealed that the NSA was excessively spying and doing so with unsettling techniques, congress, rightfully so, has been reining in the agency’s control. Why should the NSA be allowed to spy on Americans? Snowden brought to light what the NSA was capable of doing, why should the agency be used against American citizens? The notion of privacy goes right out the window when the NSA starts monitoring all citizens’ cyber activity.
Editor’s Commentary: This is my first serious disagreement with Jeb Bush. It is not the job of American spy agencies to spy on American citizens. As a former intelligence officer with an understanding of their mission, I asked the question: Do you really want the government to have a record of every communication you make, to be kept forever? In a sense the 9/11 terrorists have won, this is a fundamental shift in American individual rights and freedoms.