2019 National Cyber Summit

David L. Bowdich, Associate Deputy Director FBI

The National Cyber Summit was pleased to have Associate Deputy Director of the FBI David Bowdich speak at last year’s summit on the current status of intelligence, terrorism, cyber-crimes and the “Going Dark” debate.

During this time of transition, Bowdich believes it’s important to remain “apolitical.” “If you have to ask yourself, ‘is he Republican, Democrat or Independent?’ then as a badge carrying FBI agent I have done my job,” he said.

Bowdich spoke about the FBI’s mission to uphold the constitution and protect the people, and how to achieve this mission. “A vision is to be ahead of the threat through leadership, agility and integration,” he said. “Leadership will make or break an organization. The agility aspect of the job is the most important. We have threats today that we couldn’t even expect 10 years ago. We must be agile to the ever changing environment.”

“The threat landscape has expanded considerably, though it is important to note that the more traditional threat posed by al-Qaeda and its affiliates is still present and active. We have had a very large number of disruption due to counterterrorism as we have seen around the world and we are tracking every one of those instances. Home-grown violent terrorists are listening to the message ‘attack where you are.’ These are very difficult to identify.

“The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber-attacks by criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists. Nation-state actors that we are very concerned about and following very closely are China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea. We are briefed every morning by counter-intelligence and our cybercrime departments. Also concerning, is with our organized crime syndicates and hacktivist. They are becoming more and more complex. We must be fully engaged with our major cyber partnering companies and corporations. The SONY incident really woke up a lot of folks. It was a direct attack on free speech. We recognized because a movie that was produced, a nation-state attacker wrote some very complicated code that ultimately lead to intrusion. The company did a tremendous job on how they handled that incident.

“Law enforcement at all levels has the legal authority to intercept and access communications and information pursuant to court orders, but it often lacks the technical ability to carry out those orders because of a fundamental shift in communications services and technologies. This scenario is often called the “Going Dark” problem. The challenge is a balance between security and privacy. James Comey stated it in a very simple letter “It should not be up to the U.S. government that decides on that balance between privacy and security. It also should not be up to a company that depends on revenue. It should be the citizenry of the voters to decide what that balance needs to be. The FBI continues to gather all that data, and work to get that information out through our partners.”



Speaker Bio

David L. Bowdich

In April 2016, David Bowdich assumed the position of associate deputy director of the FBI. In this role, he oversees the management of all FBI personnel, budget, administration, and infrastructure. Prior to this appointment, he served as assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office from December 2014 to April 2016.

From September 2012 to December 2014, Mr. Bowdich served as the special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division in the Los Angeles Field Office. In that role, he led the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was responsible for all international and domestic terrorism investigations in the Los Angeles region, surrounding counties, and the extraterritorial region of Southeast Asia. Additionally, Mr. Bowdich was responsible for all crisis management and response assets, which included the SWAT Team, Evidence Response Team, Hazardous Evidence Response Team, Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team, Rapid Deployment Team, Crisis Management Team, and special agent bomb technicians.

Mr. Bowdich began his career as an FBI special agent in 1995 in the San Diego Field Office, where he investigated violent crimes and gangs and served as a SWAT Team operator and sniper. In 2003, Mr. Bowdich was promoted to FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he served in the Criminal Investigative Division for one year and the Director's Office for one year. Mr. Bowdich returned to San Diego and supervised a multiagency gang task force for almost four years before being promoted in place to serve as the assistant special agent in charge over all non-white-collar crime criminal violations, the Imperial County Resident Agency, the SWAT Team, and the Evidence Response Team.