An irreverent crowd of more than 15,000 hackers, researchers, corporate security experts, privacy advocates, artists and others are expected to attend the Las Vegas convention that begins August 2.

Moss, who is an advisor on cyber security to the Department of Homeland Security, told Reuters that it was “a tough call,” but that he believed the Def Con community needs time to make sense of the recent revelations about U.S. surveillance programs.

“The community is digesting things that the Feds have had a decade to understand and come to terms with,” said Moss, who is known as The Dark Tangent in hacking circles. “A little bit of time and distance can be a healthy thing, especially when emotions are running high.”

He said that the move was not designed to create tension, but to defuse it. “We are not going on a witch hunt or checking IDs and kicking people out,” he said.