Cyber Round Up: Holder says NSA programs legal; Snowden nominated for Nobel; Iranian officials concerned with oil industry’s cyber safety

  • In speaking with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder backed the judicial determination that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs are legal, according to the Miami Herald.  However, AG Holder emphasized the true debate, one not over legality, but over proper use of authority. “[J]ust because we can do something, should we do it?” he is quoted as saying.
  • While we’re on the topic, today Baard Vegar Solhjell, a member of Norwegian parliament, nominated Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, Reuters reports.  In a joint statement released by Solhjell and Snorre Valen, the pair stated:

There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term.  We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistle blowing has contributed to a more peaceful [and] stable . . . world order.”

  • Fars News recently reported that, according to Iran’s Head of Civil Defense Organization, Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, and Iranian Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, the oil ministry’s preparedness to combat cyber attacks must be strengthened, especially given the importance of the industry to the country’s economy and energy supply.  In “scrutiniz[ing]” the industry’s cyber capabilities, as Fars News terms it, Jalali and Zanganeh noted the “wide-scale” cyber attacks on Iranian facilities beginning in 2010 with Stuxnet.
  • A few weeks ago, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the use of NTRO, a technical spying agency, as the lead agency for securing the IT infrastructures of vital private entities, such as those that supply power and transportation, Hindustan Times reports.  Concerns were raised about “handing this key role to an intelligence body that is not subject to checks and balances,” but National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon led the charge and pushed the proposal through.

Late last year, as one of the fall outs from the Snowden disclosures, the NSA announced its intention to fill a completely new office — a civil liberties and privacy officer who would serve as a direct adviser to the Director of NSA.  Civil libertarians are skeptical and I think it is fair to say that the job will be quite a difficult one for the selectee — Rebecca “Becky” Richards who is leaving the DHS Privacy Office to start her new job at NSA next month.

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Authors

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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