by Cyrus Farivar
New financial disclosure documents released this month by the National Security Agency (NSA) show that Keith Alexander, who served as its director from August 2005 until March 2014, had thousands of dollars of investments during his tenure in a handful of technology firms.
Each year disclosed has a checked box next to this statement: "Reported financial interests or affiliations are unrelated to assigned or prospective duties, and no conflicts appear to exist."
Alexander repeatedly made the public case that the American public is at "greater risk" from a terrorist attack in the wake of the Snowden disclosures. Statements such as those could have a positive impact on the companies he was invested in, which could have eventually helped his personal bottom line.
The NSA did not immediately respond to Ars’ requests for further comment.
The documents were obtained and published Friday by Vice News as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent lawsuit against the NSA brought by Vice News reporter Jason Leopold.
The 60 released pages, which cover a period from 2008 through 2013, document that as of 2008, Alexander had as much as $50,000 invested in Synchronoss, a cloud storage firm. Synchronoss provides services to major mobile phone providers, including AT&T, Verizon and others.
He also had as much as $15,000 invested in Datascension, a "data gathering and research company." Public trades in the firm were suspended by the Securities and Exchange Commission in August 2014 due to "a lack of current and accurate information" about it.
Pericom, a semiconductor company that also has made hardware for "DVR solutions for the CCTV security and surveillance markets," also appears in his portfolio, with investments up to $15,000 appearing as of 2008.
The former NSA director also had investments as recently as 2013 up to $15,000 in RF Micro Devices, a company that makes "high-performance semiconductor components" for "aerospace and defense markets," among others. Federal records show that RF Micro Devices has done $10.5 million worth of business with the government, including $9.5 million of the Department of Defense (which could include the NSA).
Alexander’s other financial disclosures include investments in mainstream mutual funds (such as Vanguard Small Cap), but also show that he took out a 10-year loan (at 4.86 percent interest) between $15,001 and $50,000 with the College Loan Corporation beginning in 2003.
Since leaving the NSA, Alexander has founded a company called IronNet Cybersecurity, which offers protection services to banks for up to $1 million per month.
In June 2014, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) wrote a letter to Wall Street's largest lobby group, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, in which he questioned Alexander's financial ethics.
Disclosing or misusing classified information for profit is, as Mr. Alexander well knows, a felony. I question how Mr. Alexander can provide any of the services he is offering unless he discloses or misuses classified information, including extremely sensitive sources and methods. Without the classified information that he acquired in his former position, he literally would have nothing to offer to you.