Critics Blast Former National Security Agency Director Joining OpenAI Board

OpenAI has recently appointed a retired security state official to its board of directors. Paul Miki Nakasone is a retired United States Army general who served as the commander of United States Cyber Command. He concurrently served as the director of the National Security Agency and as chief of the Central Security Service. He has been tapped due to his experience in cybersecurity to help the artificial intelligence company protect its technology.

Nakasone will join the board’s Safety and Security Committee, a group focused on critical safety and security decisions at OpenAI. This news was made public on a June 13th statement from the startup’s website. Recognized as a national cyberwarrior, Nakasone brings deep intelligence and operational expertise with a broad understanding of emerging threats to U.S. national security and global stability. He has also been named as the founding director of Institute for National Defense and Global Security at Vanderbilt University.

Meanwhile, national security whistleblower Edward Snowden harshly criticized the decision by OpenAI to put a former NSA director on its board: ‘This is a willful, calculated betrayal of the rights of every person on earth,” he exclaimed. He also said “do not trust OpenAI” as a growing number of other industry professionals have laughingly called the company ClosedAI in opposite to their current moniker implying openness. Elon Musk, a former OpenAI founder, said he will drop his lawsuit of they officially change their name to ClosedAI. He has since dropped the lawsuit after OpenAI published his emails.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss filed the lawsuit against OpenAI in February 2024 because he claims the company he had helped found in 2015 had deviated from its altruistic goals to focus on profiteering. Neighboring businesses also get a “secretive vibe” from the company and the appointment of Nakasone is seen to be more about surveillance than cybersecurity, which the AI company also desperately needs as mentioned from previous employees and board members.

Musk, along with others, have been harsh critics of the closed nature of the organization. According to Business Insider, there are creepy undercover security guards outside its office and, aside from appointing a former NSA director to its board, its internal working group that was tasked with promoting the safe use of artificial intelligence has effectively disbanded.