Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge has blamed outdated federal policies for preventing the US government from recruiting friendly hackers and other security experts to help protect the national cyber perimeter.
"With the regulations associated with bringing in private citizens - to sit side by side by with the government in order to advance a broader interest of security and safety - it is very, very difficult," said Ridge.
"The [regulations] are written to the extent where, we're not really going to trust people in the private sector because, heaven forbid, they might be financially advantaged either with a contract or just general information.
“These regs are written to take care of an aberrant behavior, somebody who might be misguided and we ought to just trust the Americans who want to work with government and make it a lot easier to partner with us particularly in the area of cybersecurity."
Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said another problem with recruiting digitally savvy individuals is "people who are really good, they have not thought about working for the government."
Still, Napolitano emphasized that the DHS has managed to snag a number of prominent hackers as consultants.
"We have recruited some very nationally known hackers to be on our homeland security advisory committee... There are actually hacker conventions, and we are there."