NSA Official Joining OpenAI Is 'A Willful, Calculated Betrayal' Of All Human Rights

Edward Snowden
former U.S. computer contractor for the National Security Agency

Companies need the best talents in order to thrive, and sometimes, they can also hire former government officials and give them key roles.

And that is purposefully done for several strategic reasons.

For example, senior government officials typically have extensive knowledge of regulatory environments, public policy, and how government operates. Their insights can inform strategic decision-making, particularly in industries heavily influenced by government policy.

These in particular, can be utilized by the likes of companies with massive presence and ambitious goals.

OpenAI is one of them, and by hiring a former NSA official, Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee who became a whistleblower quickly has something to say.

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden.

According to OpenAI, in a post on X:

"Paul M. Nakasone brings world-class cybersecurity expertise to OpenAI’s Board of Directors, helping us deliver on our mission by protecting our systems from increasingly sophisticated bad actors."

Companies can hire influential figures who worked for the government because these people also have extensive networks within government and industry, have high credibility and reputation, influence and advocacy, and can bring a unique perspective on global and domestic issues, risks, and opportunities.

These people also understand the government's operations and regulatory landscapes, which should also help companies anticipate and manage risks associated with regulatory changes and compliance requirements.

This expertise can be invaluable for companies navigating complex regulations and seeking to influence policy decisions.

By hiring Paul M. Nakasone, a retired U.S. Army general and former NSA head, to its board of directors, OpenAI should be able to benefit from his knowledge, experience, and connections, ultimately enhancing its strategic positioning and operational effectiveness..

Nakasone, who led the NSA from 2018 to 2024, and retired after serving as the agency’s director and as the head of U.S. Cyber Command.

He was the longest-serving leader of USCYBERCOM, and that his duties were usually discharged in collaboration with elite cyber units in the U.S., the Republic of Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

And here, Nakasone is bringing all those achievements and expertise to OpenAI, by becoming its Safety and Security Committee.

This safety group is led by Bret Taylor, and includes other members like Sam Altman himself, Adam D’Angelo, and Nicole Seligman.

The group that replaces an earlier safety team that was disbanded after several of its leaders quit, is formed as a result of voiced concerns about AI’s capacity to predispose humans to certain risks.

This committee is charged with making recommendations on safety and security decisions for all OpenAI projects and operations.

The appointment is a reflection of OpenAI’s commitment to uphold the safety and security of its models and its users’ data. It also underscores the growing significance of cybersecurity as the impact of AI technology continues to grow.

Nakasone's line of work include strengthening OpenAI's capability to respond to "increasingly sophisticated" cybersecurity threats, the company said in its announcement.

"They've gone full mask-off: do not ever trust OpenAI or its products (ChatGPT, etc). There is only one reason for appointing an NSA Director to your board."

"This is a willful, calculated betrayal of the rights of every person on Earth. You have been warned."

This is not the first time Snowden has criticized OpenAI.

"It's a poor joke, right? They refused to provide public access to their trading data, their models, the weights and so on – but they're a leader in the space. They're being rewarded. They're being rewarded for antisocial behavior," Snowden said, speaking virtually from Moscow.

At that time, Snowden expressed his hope for OpenAI and other tech companies to start spying “for the public” rather than on the public.

While OpenAI's goal is to enhance user's safety, the move is fueling intense backlash.

Besides Snowden, some other notable tech individuals have also condemned the move.

They include Kim Dotcom, the founder of MEGA, tech mogul Elon Musk, and more.