Greenville native says, ‘We’re not safe, but we’re safer’
By Ben Szobody
Mike McConnell, President Bush’s director of national intelligence, told The Greenville News on Friday that the country’s cyber networks pose a national vulnerability “probably unprecedented in our history,” and he hopes to create a robust federal program to prevent an attack that he said would have “an order of magnitude global impact greater than 9-11.”
He also pushed for three key provisions in a controversial surveillance bill pending in Congress, saying passage is crucial because a “significant — some would even say majority” — portion of what the U.S. knows about terrorists and their plans comes from listening to their communication.
In an hour-long speech at Furman University, the country’s top spy traced his career from modest childhood roots in Greenville through his first semester sleeping in a gym closet at Furman, and later to jobs as intelligence director during the Gulf War and director of the National Security Agency.
Asked to assess U.S. intelligence since 2001, McConnell, whose Cabinet position was created in part to increase sharing between intelligence agencies, said, “We’re not safe, but we’re safer.”
He urged Furman students to consider a life of public service and said he’d like to build a house on a lot he owns in The Cliffs at Glassy.
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