Facebook’s head cyber sleuth now working for NSA

Charges have just been unsealed on one Edward Snowden. That’s one computer geek the NSA Intel-Military complex tried to buy off, but he’s far from the only one. Facebook’s former chief security officer, Max Kelly, is no stranger to the NSA, he now works for them:

NYT — The only difference is that the N.S.A. does it for intelligence, and Silicon Valley does it to make money. The disclosure of the spy agency’s program called Prism, which is said to collect the e-mails and other Web activity of foreigners using major Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, has prompted the companies to deny that the agency has direct access to their computers, even as they acknowledge complying with secret N.S.A. court orders for specific data.

Yet technology experts and former intelligence officials say the convergence between Silicon Valley and the N.S.A. and the rise of data mining — both as an industry and as a crucial intelligence tool — have created a more complex reality.

Silicon Valley has what the spy agency wants: vast amounts of private data and the most sophisticated software available to analyze it. The agency in turn is one of Silicon Valley’s largest customers for what is known as data analytics, one of the valley’s fastest-growing markets. To get their hands on the latest software technology to manipulate and take advantage of large volumes of data, United States intelligence agencies invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, award classified contracts and recruit technology experts like Mr. Kelly.

I’m guessing if Snowden was getting six figures at age 29, this guy is doing very well Which brings up a good question, how much are these guys getting paid? If they’re not making serious bank, is there a cozy arrangement where they go to work for a private contractor after influencing business decisions benefiting the same company? Because that’s really not the kind of thing you want kept secret.


  1. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    Kelly likely took a pay cut to go to the NSA.

    Salary is just not very important in the valley for some folk. If he was a pre-IPO employee he is likely sitting on $5-20 million. So he can afford to take a government job.

    Snowden was in a different situation. He didn’t really have the sort of skills that would make me think he was a $130K staffer and certainly not $200K. But he was working for a body shop and needed a security clearance. The higher salary reflects not having the same career advancement possibilities and the inconvenience of working for the NSA.

    But the real scandal here is that Booze Allen likely collected twice or three times what he made. Standard billing rates for consultants in civil work start at $2000 a day and go up. The NSA could not have paid $130K for Snowden on payroll so they paid Booz $400K or more.

    How does that make sense?

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