US Gov't can't help you with intelligence

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US Gov't can't help you with intelligence

Govt classifies too much data.

The US Government lacks the intelligence and resources to assist the private sector with security defence, a former senior Department of Homeland Security bureaucrat  says.

Speaking at the DEF CON hacker conference, Mark Weatherford, who resigned from the federal role in March, said the Government can't act quickly enough to help private companies defend against a possible attack.

"The government isn't going to come in on a big white horse and save you," said Weatherford, who now works as principal at The Chertoff Group, a global advisory company.

Hampered by resource limitations and bureaucratic barriers, such as requiring time-consuming legal approvals to share intelligence data, the government is "unable to provide timely and actionable information," he said.

This was a major reason he quit after 18 months.

"I'm a terrible government employee," said Weatherford, who also formerly served as CSO of US electric grid organisation NERC and the state of California. "There's too many restrictions."

Part of the problem is attributable to the government classifying too much information, Weatherford said. And even when critical data is able to shared, it's often already been publicly available. 

"It's the same information you saw on CNN yesterday," he said.

But audience member Troy Townsend, who works as a cyber intelligence analyst, said he was skeptical of Weatherford's talk.

"Wasn't he in a position to fix [these problems] while at DHS?" Townsend tweeted.

Weatherford also hammered the government on its inability to transfer federally developed security technology into the hands of the private sector. He called this "heartbreaking."

He noted some positive developments around information sharing, specifically referencing the threat intelligence data that was passed around following a barrage of recent DDoS attacks against financial institutions.

He also praised many information-sharing initiatives under way, but said there needs to be "more cohesion across all sectors."

This article originally appeared at

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