American research and development, source code, and innovation is “literally being bled out of the country at a terabit level,” and the U.S. needs to raise the cyber security bar to further prevent economic espionage, the vice chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mike McConnell told genConnect. Watch McConnell talk about how to boost our cybersecurity defenses and the state of America’s intelligence program:
Mike McConnell, who oversees Booz Allen Hamilton’s growing cyber business, said nation states have stolen America’s cyber secrets and in the area of cyber security, the United States is incredibly vulnerable.
“As the world has become more connected, particularly in the United States, there’s a high level of vulnerability, particularly critical infrastructure,” said McConnell, who served as DNI under both Presidents Bush and Obama. ”For example, electric power, telecommunications electronic banking and so on. As we’ve benfitted from the information technology revolution … the fact it’s connected increased our level of vulnerability.”
The intelligence community, in the U.S., however, is the “best and strongest in the world,” he said. ”While I was in it I believed it was the best and when I got to lead it, I was absolutely convinced – assured – it was the best. That said, there’s room for improvement.”
Although America has historically not maintained a strong intelligence community, that has changed since World War II and through the Cold War, and the need was reinforced even more so after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“America has a leadership role,” McConnell said. “With our ethics and values of democracy and human rights and so on, if you’re going to be influential in the world, you need to know what’s going on in the world.”
genConnect is credentialed press at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo., where we are interviewing the premier speakers and attendees at the conference. For more of our video interviews and articles from the Ideas Festival, click here.
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