Intelligence Chairman Suggests Snowden May Not Have Acted Alone

He added the emerging cyber threat is from a kind of digital mass shooter, a dangerous hacker able to obtain cyber weapons only available to organized crime or national governments.

“They’re just mad, they’re mad at the world,” Hayden said. “They may have demands that you or I cannot understand.”

Within five years hackers will acquire the capabilities that we now associate with criminal gangs or nation states to conduct cyber-attacks like sabotaging power plants, factories, and utilities, he warned.

The former CIA chief said Snowden had a role to play in the stagnant cybersecurity legislation. The House passed a version of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) earlier this year, co-sponsored by Rogers.

“One of the long-term ill effects of Snowden was that it was tough enough for the chairman to get CISPA through when the waters were calm. And now he is trying to do it in white water rapids. And it is not going to happen,” Hayden said.

A previous version of the bill failed to gain traction in the Senate last year and many lawmakers have said that CISPA in 2013 is dead. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced last month she is working on a draft bill that will complement CISPA.

But one thing that is moving forward in Congress is legislation to improve transparency at the NSA.

Rogers said he will introduce legislation this month to increase transparency at the NSA and restore confidence in the U.S. intelligence programs. His bill would allow NSA to declassify information that would better inform the American public about the scope of the agency’s operations.

“We are trying to find some confidence builders that we think can address the public’s concerns and still protect these programs,” Rogers said.

He said the NSA is subject to full oversight by Congress and the administration and defended the agency’s record of violations, noting that in the last 10 years there were 12 violations, all of which have been dealt with.

“There is no system in the United States government – and, I would argue, state government – that is more overseen than these programs,” Rogers said.