The United States' top intelligence official argued last week that the National Security Agency should become the nation's cyber defender, adding his voice to the growing murmur of support for the agency's future role in cyberspace.
In comments before the U.S. House of Representatives' intelligence committee on Wednesday, the Obama administration's Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, stated that the current lead agency on cybersecurity, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has not stepped up to the plate, while the NSA "has the greatest repository of cyber talent." Blair acknowledged that the NSA has to gain the trust of the American people and show that they can be held accountable, but that the capabilities of the agency make them best suited to the role of protecting U.S. networks against cyber attacks.
"I think that (the NSA's) capability should be harnessed and built on as we're trying to protect more than just our intelligence networks or our military networks as we expand to our federal networks and to our critical infrastructure networks," Blair said, according to transcript (pdf) of the remarks. "And, the reason is that, because of the offensive mission that they have, they're the ones who know best about what's coming back at us and it's defenses against those sorts of things that we need to be able to build into wider and wider circles." [...]