DEPUTY SEC. HAMRE
Dr. John Hamre is Deputy Secretary of Defense. He recently spoke with NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden about encryption.
TOM BEARDEN: There are some in the market place who point to the Commerce Department and Justice Department stand on key escrow and strong encryption and so forth as evidence that the government wants to be able to, as one person put it, strip search everybody on the street corner to make sure they don't have weapons. It's a gross over-reaction.
DEPUTY SEC. HAMRE: It is a dramatic over-reaction, and I think it mischaracterizes the problem. There are very serious values intentioned with each other on this issue. Americans want their privacy and deserve their privacy, and we enshrine that, and we honor that privacy. Americans also want protection against terrorists and want protection against criminals, and when you have a media like the Internet that provides on the one hand tremendous flexibility in privacy, it also opens up opportunities for bad people to do bad things.
It's striving to find a balance between those two goals. Those two goods is, I think, what the government has been wrestling with over the last three-four years.
We in the Defense Department have, I think, a middle path to that which is to say we're going to use Internet based technology for business and for military activities, for our command and control. But we cannot afford to have it be unprotected, and for at least ourselves we're going to buy that protection, and we're going to encrypt our data, and we're going to have a key recovery system to confirm who it is that we're dealing with.