U.S. Congress examining deal between NSA official,
ex-agency chief

Keith Alexander

Keith Alexander

A Senate committee and an outspoken U.S. Congressman are seeking further information about a deal under which a top National Security Agency official is being permitted to work part-time for a private company run by the spy agency’s former director.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested a copy of an „internal review” which NSA said last week it had opened into an arrangement under which Patrick Dowd, the spy agency’s chief technical officer is being allowed up to 20 hours per week for IronNet Cybersecurity Inc, a congressional official said.

IronNet is a venture created by retired Gen. Keith Alexander, who stepped down as NSA director in March.

Under the arrangement, which Reuters first reported on Friday, IronNet, not NSA, will pay for the time Dowd spent working for the firm. It could not be determined whether Dowd has actually begun working for Alexander.

The arrangement, which current and former officials said was approved by top NSA managers, has raised questions about the blurring of lines between government and business.

The Senate intelligence panel will not decide whether further action is necessary until after it has examined NSA’s internal review, said the congressional official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would „request an investigation” of Dowd’s deal with Alexander’s firm.

Grayson accused the ex-NSA chief of being „promiscuous in his unscrupulousness,” and suggested that his company’s arrangement with Dowd was „an obvious violation of the standards of ethical conduct for employees of the Executive Branch.”

Asked about Grayson’s comments, Alexander emailed that he had no comment.

An NSA spokeswoman said the agency had no further comment.