The man who will be the first speaker at the White House’s new national cybersecurity summit on Tuesday is a former federal prosecutor and cybercrime prosecutor.
Devin Nunes is the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a Republican-controlled panel tasked with overseeing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
And now, in his first public speech on the issue of cybersecurity, Nunes says that the United States needs to look at how to better protect our citizens.
“There are times in our history when the very fabric of the nation is at stake,” Nunes says in his opening remarks.
“I think we have to ask ourselves: How do we ensure that our institutions are not broken?
How do our institutions have the strength and resilience to withstand the challenges of the 21st century?”
In an exclusive interview with Buzzfeed News, Nunes told us what he learned about the nation’s security when he was a prosecutor, how he learned to appreciate the value of data in the cybersecurity age, and why he thinks cybersecurity is an issue of national security.
What prompted you to become a cybersecurity lawyer?
When I was in law school, I thought it was a pretty neat career path to pursue, and I was really fortunate to be given that opportunity.
It was a very nice opportunity.
I spent three years as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice and was assigned to the National Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security.
I was a top-level agent, and one of the most important roles of the agent is to be able to take on the responsibilities of the FBI Director and the heads of the agencies that I was working with.
That is the one place in the FBI where you have that power to do whatever the agents of the day tell you to do.
But when I got to the position of deputy director, that was the last year I had any chance to go on any administrative leave, so I was able to stay on the job and I worked as an attorney for the National Counterterrorism Center.
It became apparent that the agency had not done a good job of cybersecurity.
The FBI had not implemented all of the policies that the Department had put in place.
They had not followed the rules, they had not complied with the rules that they had set forth.
They were not complying with the federal law that they were supposed to follow.
And so I went back to work, and within a couple of years, I was the director of the counterintelligence division, which was one of my first jobs.
It’s not just that the FBI was not doing a good enough job of cyber security; it was that they weren’t enforcing the rules.
In fact, in some cases, the agents were going to a district attorney’s office to say, “I don’t think you’re enforcing the law.”
And so the agency basically did not have the resources to deal with the issue.
So I did what I could to get more resources, and so I created a new office, and we started hiring more staff to deal directly with the agents and their complaints.
We created a cyber security training program for agents, and there was an increased emphasis on training.
The agents were getting better, but it was not enough to get the job done.
We had a number of issues that were not being addressed.
There were too many cases that were never being investigated, that were being handled inappropriately, that weren’t being prosecuted.
We also had problems with a variety of systems, and it was clear that our systems were not working as they should.
The cybersecurity team was being overwhelmed with cases that needed to be investigated, but they were not getting the attention they needed.
They needed to get better.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to the effective use of cyber intelligence?
One of the biggest barriers to the use of cyberspace is that it is not a subject that is taught in schools.
I have a law degree, and my son’s first class is on cyber crime, and they have to be taught cybersecurity at that level, which I think is a tremendous disservice to children.
So it is very difficult to learn cyber security.
The problem is, it is also a subject you don’t need to be an expert in to be effective in the way that you need to use cyber information.
It is not an area where you need the experience to be a professional.
But it is an area that many people do not have, and therefore the risk that they take in using cyber information to commit a crime is enormous.
What was the worst cyber incident you’ve ever had to deal in the field?
One time, a cyber incident that I had to investigate was involving the use by a criminal organization of a database in a state that had been compromised.
The organization had been able to steal the information and then had taken advantage of the vulnerability and the fact that there were no backups of the data