Cisco's Chambers to Obama: 'We simply can't operate this way'

In a letter to President Barack Obama, John Chambers, Cisco’s chief executive, complained about reports of the National Security Administration intercepting Cisco equipment, according to the Wall Street Journal, which had a copy of the letter.

Chambers called for the creation of new rules of the road for the NSA, that take into account both national security needs but also the needs of global commerce.

“We simply cannot operate this way, our customers trust us to be able to deliver to their doorsteps products that meet the highest standards of integrity and security,” Chambers said in the letter.

Last week, Cisco responded strongly to reports that the NSA installed bugs, or “back doors,” into the equipment before it went to customers, Silicon Beat’s Steve Johnson wrote. 

In a blog post, Cisco’s general counsel, Mark Chandler, said it “undermines confidence in our industry” if the company can’t count on the government to not interfere with the lawful delivery of its products

Juniper Networks also issued a similar statement, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Last week, a NSA spokesman said that “the United States pursues its intelligence mission with care to ensure that innocent users of those same technologies are not affected.”


Above: John Chambers, Cisco CEO, at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting Sept. 24, 2012 in New York.  (Stephen Chernin/AFP/GettyImages)

Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (212 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.