Feeds

New NSA boss plays down impact of Snowden leaks

You have not heard me say 'OMG, the sky is falling'

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Incoming NSA chief Admiral Michael Rogers has played down the impact of the Snowden revelations on the spy agency's work.

Former NSA director, General Keith Alexander, described the Snowden leaks as one of the worst breaches in intelligence history. UK spy agency bosses at GCHQ and MI6 told a Parliamentary inquiry back in November that the leaks had hurt their ability to monitor terrorists' communications because parts of the world had "gone dark" in the wake of Snowden.

However, Admiral Rogers played down the impact of the revelations during an interview with the New York Times. Admiral Rogers acknowledged that terrorists might have made changes to the way they communicate but he downplayed the significance of this tactical shift.

"I have seen [terrorist] groups not only talk about making changes, I have seen them make changes," Admiral Rogers said. "You have not heard me as the director say, 'Oh, my God, the sky is falling.' I am trying to be very specific and very measured in my characterisations."

The new NSA director added that the signals intelligence agency has put in place a range of tougher controls to safeguard against the possibility of any future Snowden-style leak involving a trusted insider walking away with thousands of classified documents. He nevertheless admitted that smaller-scale leaks are nigh on impossible to prevent.

He also explained that the relationship between the NSA and private telecom and internet service firms exposed by the Snowden files had been profoundly changed as a result of the revelations. Internet service firms are no longer willing to co-operate with the spy agency voluntarily.

Telcos such as AT&T and Verizon, as well as social media companies, now insist that “you are going to have to compel us” to turn over data, Admiral Rogers told the NYT. However, he added, the vast majority of global corporation that worked with the NSA (giving the agency its "technological edge and global reach", as the NYT put it) were still doing so, even though they weren't keen to advertise this.

Admiral Rogers, who took over as NSA boss in April, said the NSA intended to be more transparent about its mission as a way of regaining public trust following numerous revelations about the NSA's dragnet surveillance programme. Rogers said that - unlike his predecessors - he would need to engage “in a public dialogue” about how the agency operated. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road
It's hard enough to peel the onion, are you hard enough to eat the core?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.