A former cybersecurity adviser to President George W. Bush fears that the NSA has created the “potential for a police state” to emerge in the United States.
“In terms of collecting intelligence, they are very good. Far better than you could imagine,” Richard Clarke said Monday in San Fransisco while speaking at the the Cloud Security Alliance Summit, Search Security reported.
“But they have created, with the growth of technologies, the potential for a police state,” said Mr. Clarke, a member of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology.
Mr. Clarke, speaking about a 2013 report on data collection by government agencies that he was involved in, went on to note that much of the blame can be placed at the feet of policymakers who have failed to ask tough questions about what the NSA is doing and to lay out very specific ground rules.
“If you’re not specific, an agency that bugs phones is going to bug phones,” Mr. Clarke said, Search Security reported. “The NSA is an organization that’s like a hammer, and everything looks like a nail.”
Mr. Clarke concluded that while overall the spy agencies are filled with “highly intelligent” patriotic Americans, he fears that another major terrorist attack on U.S. soil could push America into the realm of a full-fledged police state.
“The NSA, despite all the hoopla, has been a force of good. It could, with another president or after another 9/11, be a force not for good,” Clarke said. “Once you give up your rights, you can never get them back. Once you turn on that police state, you can never turn it off.”