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Intelligence Chief Proposes Wide Cyber Surveillance

US National Intelligence Director says government should be able to tap all email, file transfers, and Web searches

If Mike McConnell has his way, there won't be any communications on the Internet that the government can't tap.

In an interview scheduled to be published in Monday's forthcoming edition of The New Yorker, McConnell offers some insight into his long-awaited draft U.S. Cyber-Security Policy, according to reports.

The draft plan will raise privacy issues and make the current debate over surveillance law look like "a walk in the park," McConnell reportedly told The New Yorker. To accomplish his plan, the government must have the ability to read all the information crossing the Internet in the United States -- in order to protect it from abuse.

The plan gives government agencies the right to monitor email, file transfers, and even Web searches, according to reports. McConnell's proposals also include reducing the number of gateways between government computers and the Internet from 2,000 to 50, as well as implementing a dragnet to monitor electronic traffic.

U.S. defense and law enforcement agencies have long expressed a desire for such surveillance capabilities, but experts say there are many in Congress who would vote against them. Congressional aides say they expect a forthcoming fight over surveillance practices.

McConnell also told The New Yorker that he is an excellent dancer, according to the reports.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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