Republican Texas Rep. Will Hurd responded on Tuesday after his invitation to speak at a high-profile cybersecurity conference was rescinded.
“One of the things that’s disturbing, I think this is one more data point in a trend where people are uncomfortable or unwilling to engage with people who disagree with them,” Hurd said while appearing on ‘Fox and Friends.’ “I think in the competition of ideas it’s what helps you separate fact from fiction and the only way we’re going to solve big things in this country is if we actually work together.”
Hurd was initially slated to be the keynote speaker at the Black Hat Conference, one of the world’s premier cyber security events. However, only one day after his attendance was announced, the conference rescinded the invite.
“We misjudged the separation of technology and politics,” the organization wrote in a statement. “We will continue to focus on technology and research, however, we recognize that Black Hat USA is not the appropriate platform for the polarizing political debate resulting from our choice of speaker.”
“I didn’t know what the personal politics were of my colleagues that were shoulder to shoulder stopping al-Qaida from trying to conduct another attack on our homeland, preventing Russian spies from trying to steal our secrets and putting nuclear weapons, proliferators, out of business,” Hurd said, referring to the nine years he served in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
While working in the CIA, Hurd was tasked with briefing Congress. He also served multiple tours of duty as an operations officer in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Subsequent to joining the agency, he continued his role in national and cyber security by joining Crumpton Group LLC, a strategic advisory firm, as well as becoming a senior advisor with the cybersecurity firm FusionX.
“When it comes to things like national security and cybersecurity [differing opinions] is even more important,” Hurd continued. “The president had to send a thousand more troops to the middle east in order to deal with Iran. You’re going to likely see an increase of cyber attacks from Iranians on us and our allies and the only way we’re going to be able to defend ourselves is if the public sector, the private sector, academia, the research community all ultimately work together.”
“I was looking forward to delivering my remarks on cybersecurity,” he said. “I was going to keep it to cybersecurity and talk about how we had to cooperate together.”
“I wish them the best and I hope they have a successful conference,” Hurd added.
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